"Bloombergville" blooms outside NYC City Hall

Inspired by the example of "Walkerville", where citizens opposed to Gov. Scott Walker's  layoffs and cuts to essential services maintain a tent "city" on Capitol Square in Madison, WI, opponents of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's austerity budget have set up "Bloombergville" outside City Hall in Manhattan. Bloomberg's budget lays off 5,400 city workers and reduces city jobs further by refusing to hire for positions left empty by attrition. It shutters 20 fire companies and sharply cuts library funding, cuts funding for emergency "311" dispatchers, and trims park and health services employees. Demand for all of these city functions have not dropped in the last year, and lost jobs and reduced funding will slow the overall city economy. Bloomberg claims that the cuts are absolutely necessary to balance the city budget, but critics have pointed out that the city faces such a sharp deficit now because the city government will roll over $3.6 billion in funds from this year into the next fiscal year. They also show that millions of dollars in revenue go untapped every year because the city fails to collect the proper taxes from rents on billboards, cell phone towers, and once tax exempt property now under a new owner. The city government also has a habit of extending tax breaks, ballooning from under $1 billion ten years ago to over $2.6 billion this year. In this climate, opponents are willing to sleep in tents and sleeping bags on the sidewalk for as long as it takes to raise awareness of the harsh effects of Bloomberg's austerity package.

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