As democrats, it is our responsibility to offer protection to the most needy, the poor, the elderly, our children and the handicapped in our community and the entire State of New York.
It is for this reason that I am surprised that a Democratic Governor is proposing budget cuts of 2 billion dollars to the State's budget that will directly hurt the most needy communities.
This proposal by Governor David Paterson, includes cuts to programs and services for the elderly, cuts to our children's education, increases in college tuitions, cuts to health care services, hospital closings, cuts to Medicaid, cuts to programs and services for the disabled, cuts to mental health services, salary reductions to health care workers such as home-attendants, nurses and maintenance workers, among others.
We as democrats have fought for these services for our communities, and that is why I can't, I shouldn't, and I will not give my vote to my Democratic colleagues in the State Senate to approve these cuts proposed by Governor Paterson which will directly affect the residents of my community.
We are not blind or deaf to the fiscal reality of the City, State and Nation. However, every time there is a fiscal issue, we cannot continue to balance the budget on that backs of the Hispanic, African-American and the neediest communities of the State.
We have always blamed the Republicans for these cuts and abuses to our communities. Yet we Democrats are now the majority in the state legislature and we have a Democrat in the Governor's office. Why continue to direct cuts to our people when we can confront the economic crisis in other ways. We cannot use the economy as an excuse to continue harming our communities.
There has been immense pressure to decide the issue of leadership in the State Senate before the 18th of November, so that the Democrats have the majority of the votes to approve these detrimental cuts.
As a Democrat, I have fought for more and better services for our senior citizens, I have been the only democrat, who in defense of our children's education, has asked publicly for the resignation of Chancellor Joel Klein and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, I have fought for and brought affordable housing developments to my senatorial district.
That is why I cannot support the budget cuts proposed by Governor Paterson, even though he is a Democrat like me. I will always put the services for my community first.