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City Council Postpones Budget Vote

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The City Council has postponed its vote on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's $66 billion budget until Wednesday morning, giving New Yorkers a full day to review the council's annual list of pork barrel spending.

The council released a document early Tuesday morning that details its allotted $50 million in member items, which will go to local community organizations ranging from little leagues to senior centers.

Originally council members said they would hold the vote on Tuesday, but that would have broken ethics rules set by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

In 2008, following the council's slush fund scandal, Quinn promised the list of member items should be made public at least 24 hours before the budget vote.

Council members say the spending on member items, even during tough budget times, is necessary to prop up much-needed local nonprofit groups.

Critics allege it is a way for the council speaker to reward her inner circle.

Four members have received more than $1 million in member item money, including council finance committee head Domenic Recchia of Brooklyn, who is set to get more than $1.6 million for local groups.

Despite facing corruption charges, Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook is slated to receive about $362,000 in member item money this year.

Meanwhile, protesters held an aggressive demonstration by the Emigrant Savings Bank by City Hall Tuesday night to show opposition to the budget's proposed cuts and layoffs, and to demand that Wall Street pay more taxes to the city.

Some protesters entered the lobby of 250 Broadway, the workplace of many city employees, and held a sit-in. Police then arrested and charged 13 of those demonstrators with criminal trespassing.

"The city has plenty of money, they've got a budget surplus, Wall Street's got billions of dollars. There should be no cuts," said a protester. "There should be no cuts to services, they should be expanding services."

"These cuts are literally going to destroy people's lives, and they should be seen as such," said another.

While the budget deal reached on Friday saves 4,000 teachers from losing their jobs and keeps 20 fire companies open, about 2,600 retiring teachers will not be replaced and class sizes are expected to increase.

Some members of District Council 37, the city's largest public employee union, are also expected to lose their jobs.

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