Mayor de Blasio Proposes Cuts for NYC Veterans

Mayor de Blasio Proposes Cuts for NYC Veterans

UPDATE 1: Rally with us on Valentine's Day!

UPDATE 2: The Mayor heard you loud and clear! We have word that the Mayor is revising his budget proposal to restore the DVS staffing and funding to the same levels as the 2017 budget. We'll update our website and social media with details as we have them.

Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio released his administration’s preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (which begins on July 1st). This is the first step in the city’s process of putting resources behind its priorities. Unfortunately we see a strong statement here about NYC’s veterans, military members, and their families—less funding during a year when the city has had very strong tax revenues. Simply put, we just aren’t a priority in Mayor de Blasio’s budget.

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Back in 2015, the budget for veterans was just $600,000—and on Memorial Day that year, de Blasio’s administration insisted that there was no need for anything larger—that the small office and budget “is as it should be.” Our community saw things differently. We called on our city government to do more for veterans—and we got results. But this is only the beginning.

Last year we saw a huge effort to establish the new NYC Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) with a budget of $2.9 million, and the work of Commissioner Sutton and her new team has been impressive and gives us hope. But we simply cannot shortchange veterans next year. Especially when our mayor boasts of a new budget with the "highest reserves we've ever had."

Here are some key details of what Mayor de Blasio has proposed for veterans in his 2018 budget:

1. Less Funding for DVS.

The Mayor proposes to cut $317,000 from the amount DVS received last year. Granted, there are one-time or short-term costs for supplies and equipment for the new agency to establish itself, which we see in many cut budget lines. But once a new agency is established, it shouldn’t be trimming back—it should be expanding with new capabilities and programs and outreach.

For example, we hope to see more DVS staff providing outreach across the city, yet funds for travel reimbursements have been cut by $6,000. We want to see more printed publications for our huge population of veterans who don’t regularly access the internet, yet funds for printing and general supplies have been slashed by more than $155,000. Our community of veterans, military members, and their families are just beginning to see that there’s a new agency in place to support them—and the new DVS is just in its first phases of showing us what they can do. We can’t start going back to the old “it is as it should be” days of limited funding for veterans--we need more, not less.

2. Elimination of Homelessness Prevention Staff Position.

The Mayor proposes to cut one key homelessness prevention staff position created in last year's budget. This leaves DVS with 34 personnel rather than the 35 planned for the new agency; 8 remaining staff members are dedicated to homelessness prevention, in addition to 4 staff members at the Department of Homeless Services who interact with homeless veterans on streets and in shelters.

Affordable housing is a top priority of our membership, and it is a far broader issue spanning beyond the crisis of veteran homelessness. We need more smart staff—not less—working on solutions for veterans to afford housing. A core promise that our nation makes to veterans is to enable them to purchase a home—yet this promise is far too unattainable for far too many veterans who can barely afford to pay rent in the five boroughs. Getting veterans off the streets and out of homeless shelters isn’t nearly enough to fulfill our nation’s and our city's obligation to veterans. We cannot afford to lose staffing in a brand new agency, especially related to housing.

3. Zero Funding for Veterans Alternative (School Tax) Exemption.

Even though the new budget proposal reports that the city’s assessed property tax value (including existing exemptions for veterans and elderly) went up by $17.6 billion (no, that’s not a typo), the Mayor could not find the funding to provide veteran homeowners with long overdue relief from school taxes, which have increased more than 60% since 2003.

The estimated cost of this exemption would be $39.6 million—which is less, for example, than what the city brings in annually from cigarette taxes. Our city can and must provide this long-overdue exemption to veteran homeowners. Budgeting for the Veterans Alternative Tax Exemption is the least that Mayor de Blasio can do, and just one step toward meeting our city’s obligation to ensure veterans can afford homes in the city they call home.

 

We made a difference in 2015--and it's time to keep those gains from being rolled back. Let Mayor de Blasio know he needs to support veterans in the 2018 budget by calling 311 or sending him an online message (click HERE).

UPDATE: Rally with us on Valentine's Day!

 

Showing 23 reactions

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  • commented 2017-02-01 10:18:13 -0500
    thought rally was today? not valentines day? that’s what I saw today at 3-6pm in front of city hall
  • commented 2017-01-29 21:27:43 -0500
    as a disabled Viet-Nam vet i hate to see such cheap political degrading of veterans and the programs that should to help those that need it
  • commented 2017-01-29 16:07:51 -0500
    When will New Yorkers start caring and protesting for the real hero’s that fought for their freedoms. He should go. Idiot. Most of today’s societies are waking up. New York along with California will remain backward.
  • commented 2017-01-28 13:55:44 -0500
    De Blasio Supports sanction city immigrants. USA Vets who served our country are having benefits cut. Disgraceful!
  • commented 2017-01-28 09:33:31 -0500
    This sounds very vindictive of deblasio, especially after receiving word of federal funding cuts of “sanctuary cities” like NYC by the Trump Adminstration. Like you couldn’t of made this any more obvious?! You go after the biggest american disenfranchised group in recent years ?! Yea can’t wait till YOUR re-election bill
  • commented 2017-01-28 01:59:18 -0500
    A lot our brothers never come back home during this war some they need help some don’t some leaving in the Streets of this country, and a lot take own life. and know you try to take a little help the we have but you are sleeping in a nice bed and a nice room if you need a doctor you have next to you, you have 3 meals, and MONEY.
    AND YOU NOT HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT FOR US.
    .,
  • commented 2017-01-27 20:49:23 -0500
    Jesus, what a moron, thanks your honor you just lost my vote for next year. The first order of business is creating a 200-300 bed facility staffed with top personnel to get our veterans out of Bellevue Men’s shelter that’s the first thing. Whoever thought of that idea needs their head examined vets can die in that facility.
  • commented 2017-01-27 18:10:38 -0500
    Strange connection: trump is for vets! Blasio not in line with Trump! Therefore, proposing veterans service cuts! It does sound as vendetta !
  • commented 2017-01-27 12:33:56 -0500
    This mayor needs to get his priorities straightened! He is killing us with taxes and using the money to fund illegal immigrants. OUR VETERANS COME FIRST!! I don’t want my tax dollars spent on people breaking our laws when we have homeless vets. No more sanctuary!! Come here legally, pay taxes like everyone else, give funding to our veterans.
  • commented 2017-01-27 12:27:02 -0500
    How can this man continue to hurt our Veterans?
  • commented 2017-01-26 21:53:29 -0500
    Why is it every single thing de Blasio does is against what most decent middle-class citizens want. Him getting an office was a mistake yes it will be corrected on the next election day however he’s killing us he’s killing everybody and look at what he’s destroying our veterans with now he should hang his head in shame he should quit
  • commented 2017-01-26 21:12:18 -0500
    They Mayor is a piece of filth. He wants to protect Illegal Aliens, but turns his back on people who protected ALL OF US! He’s dirt!!!
  • commented 2017-01-26 18:15:32 -0500
    Well folks that bone head is up for re-election this year in 2017 so just like the country came out and put Trump in the White House – let’s come out and put this guy out of office. He is after all far left liberal blow hard.
  • commented 2017-01-26 15:56:10 -0500
    CUT YOUR FUNDS!!! Salary, benefits, etc. YOU do nothing!!! You are not a respected Mayor of the City of New York and will not have a 2nd term….
  • commented 2017-01-26 10:37:53 -0500
    Our Veterans were there when we needed them They protected us and our freedoms. It baffles me how we can cut their benefits. SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE
  • commented 2017-01-26 08:37:43 -0500
    Wait we have 34 people fighting military veteran homelessness?! Are they at the DVS? Who is auditing all this or oversight?
  • commented 2017-01-26 06:59:24 -0500
    Mayor you should step down now
  • commented 2017-01-25 23:38:44 -0500
    Reinstate and multiply aid for our veterans De Blasio.
  • commented 2017-01-25 22:58:20 -0500
    We need to eliminate the funding for the Blasio. He needs to go
  • commented 2017-01-25 21:08:11 -0500
    Don’t cut Vets money
  • commented 2017-01-25 16:56:05 -0500
    Typical liberal doesn’t care about vets bet he has some real good ideas how to spend that money on some fund idea vote this loser out of office
  • commented 2017-01-25 08:10:08 -0500
    This should not be happening!!!! Remember this when reelection comes up !!! Bye bye deBlasio !!!
  • commented 2017-01-25 06:13:19 -0500
    After my recent events…….

    I feels as if this is warranted. WE WILL REMEMBER YOU FOREVER

    We are your last line of defense.

    Think 💭 about it for a few seconds.

    Ya let that sink in…….