On the eve of the inauguration, everyone wants the attention of Barack Obama. So do New Yorkers. Yesterday think tank The Center for An Urban Future presented the new administration with a wish list for New York, detailing 51 things the president could do to help us out. The reports notes that some of New York’s biggest problems have been exacerbated by the current Administration’s “disdain for the priorities of cities” over the past eight years. To add to our financial woes, as the late Senator Patrick Moynihan liked to point out, New York sends more money to the federal government than it gets back in tax payments each year (the discrepancy is now almost $11 billion).
The Center says the government needs to start paying attention to issues that affect cities more than other places: affordable housing, immigration, terrorism, etc. Among their suggestions:
— Restore two billion in funding that the Bush Administration wiped out for job training programs.
— Put some money back into public transportation, (No, it’s not the Feds’ fault that the MTA is running out of cash, but federal spending for mass transit has remained relatively flat since 2000, even as ridership in NYC hit an all-time high in 2007.)
— Give back the roughly $200 million a year for the Community Development Block Grant program, which provides affordable housing and day care services in low-income communities. The Bush administration has drastically cut funding for public housing across the board.
— Close the gun-show loophole that lets purchasers avoid federal background checks.
— Make sure the 2010 census doesn’t undercount New Yorkers.
— Pass the DREAM ACT (the proposed law which says that foreign children who came to the U.S. at a young age be entitled to the same benefits as American citizens, such as access to federal financial aid).