Residents criticize Bloomberg's 2010 budget

THE BRONX - Bronx residents criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed budget Saturday, claiming they cannot afford to pay taxes on plastic bags, groceries and clothing.

Bloomberg says the city could earn more than $100 million from taxing shoppers 5 cents to use plastic bags. The mayor also believes the city can benefit from the environmental impact of using fewer plastic shopping bags. One resident, Donald Guttman, of the Bronx, says the plastic bag tax will result in unclean streets.

"I think the streets will be dirtier," Guttman says. "People aren't going to buy separate bags for dog waste."

Bloomberg says the taxes will help close the $1 billion deficit. In his proposal, Bloomberg hiked the sales tax to 9 percent and canceled the previous tax exemption on clothing.

In addition to the sales tax increase, Bloomberg proposes drastic job and spending cuts. He says the cuts will not affect uniformed service workers, including police officers. The 2010 city budget will be evaluated by the full City Council before it is approved.

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