Thousands Protest Teacher Layoffs, Tax Loopholes

By Victoria Cavaliere
|  Friday, May 13, 2011  |  Updated 8:48 AM EDT
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Thousands of people marched from City Hall to Wall Street Thursday to protest tax breaks for big banks and Mayor Bloomberg’s planned budget cuts that will eliminate thousands of teacher jobs.

The protest was organized by labor leaders and community groups who want Bloomberg to close tax loopholes and more closely regulate financial practices of big businesses.

Holding signs that read “Make Banks Pay” and “No Cuts,” protesters gathered at eight spots around downtown Manhattan Thursday afternoon before converging at City Hall and then marching to Wall Street.

Organizers said 10,000 people turned out for the rally.

“Rather than lay off teachers and slash vital services for kids and seniors, Mayor Bloomberg needs to take another look at those who have been letting the working poor and the middle class make all the sacrifices,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. 

The mayor's $65.7 billion budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1 calls for laying off about 4,100 teachers and slashing an additional 2,000 teaching positions through attrition.

The mayor has said the cuts are necessary to shore up the city’s budget deficit. 

Community leaders participating in the rally say the plan unfairly chops at the needs of middle and lower income people while allowing banks and massive corporations to go unchecked.

“Our communities are hurting due to foreclosures, unemployment, and cuts to services. It’s time to demand that big banks change their ways or simply stop doing business with them,” said Jean Sassine, of the advocacy group New York Communities for Change.

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