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Every New Yorker Can Now Vote on City’s Budget

By John C. Liu

 As a taxpayer it’s important that you have the opportunity to get involved in the City’s budget process. It’s your money, and it only makes sense that you have a say in how it is spent.

 Every year New Yorkers are subjected to an orchestrated song and dance and told that their libraries or fire companies or childcare programs are going to be cut, and while they’re distracted, the Mayor quietly pushes through the other 99 percent of the budget.

 And every year, when the music stops, the threatened services are miraculously restored. It’s time to stop this dance and create a budget that is of the people, by the people, and for the people — one that reflects the people’s dream for better schools, safer neighborhoods, and solid jobs.

 For that reason, my office has developed The People’s Budget NYC (peoplesbudgetnyc.com), an easy-to-use online tool that will give you a voice in the budget process. This powerful website was designed both to collect feedback and to give you a chance to offer your suggestions.

The costs and benefits of each program are clearly laid out. The platform’s interactive features allow users to vote thumbs up or down on an array of spending issues. The site also offers an opportunity to join online discussions and bring up new ideas. It allows users to share budget proposals with others through email, Twitter, and Facebook.

 The People’s Budget NYC website is based on The People’s Budget report my office unveiled last month. We identified about $15 billion in new revenues over the next four fiscal years and nearly the same amount of new investments for things that New Yorkers care about, including investing more in schools, hiring more police officers, creating affordable housing, and cutting taxes on small businesses.

 Now you can sit at home in front of your computer or use your mobile device to express your opinion on important budget issues such as extending library hours or expanding programs to help kids prepare for college.

Parents and community members who use this site will better understand what public schools need and how the money budgeted for education is being spent. My belief and hope is that this new budgeting approach will reduce cynicism in government and produce a better, stronger, and fairer budget.

In addition, I will take the three most popular proposals and incorporate them into testimony I will deliver before the City Council in June. As I write this, more than a thousand votes have already been cast online. The more New Yorkers voice their opinions on The People’s Budget NYC website, the more influence these opinions will have in how taxpayer money is spent in this year’s $70 billion City budget.

 Voting will continue through Sunday, June 2 at 11:59 p.m.; so log on to peoplesbudgetnyc.com and vote today for those items that matter most to you, your community, and our great City.

 John C. Liu is New York City Comptroller.

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