2011 Policy Statement

2011 Westchester County

Policy Statement

The Westchester Women’s Agenda understands the tough choices faced by county policymakers this year.  Pressures to hold the line on the county tax levy have grown.  At the same time, demands for county services have mounted, in the face of growing poverty, unemployment, and foreclosures.

As county policymakers move forward on the 2011 budget, we urge them to consider the following actions:

  • Partner with nonprofit community agencies to deliver cost-effective services
  • Invest in preventive services that stave off higher public costs
  • Maintain county programs that leverage state and federal monies
  • Consider sale of county assets or increased user fees
  • Preserve the safety-net of county social services

The Westchester Women’s Agenda also urges the policymakers to consider the ramifications of their actions, cognizant that their budget cuts could:

  • Force families onto public assistance
  • Increase homelessness
  • Reduce services to victims of rape, battered women and their children
  • Let gang violence, teen pregnancy or drug-use to increase
  • Allow communicable disease to spread

As the local economy struggles to emerge from the recession, a growing number of working families have fallen into need. Demand for services is increasing at our community-based organizations.  Westchester County and local non-profits have built a solid network of services to protect the vulnerable and help them re-enter the mainstream.

Dismantling this network, while seemingly providing momentary relief to Westchester taxpayers, will not provide lasting savings.  Many of those residents served today will lose their supports and could end up burdening taxpayers with higher public assistance costs. Dismantling the safety-net, which we’ve woven together through a thriving public-private partnership, will also diminish the county’s quality of life, and make Westchester a less desirable place for families to live, and for employers who do business here.

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