Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg reacted with “outrage” on Monday to Governor Cuomo’s proposed state budget for this coming year. In what can be described as a defiant tone, Mayor Bloomberg said that if the budget stands as it has been agreed upon, New York City will be faced with another round of severe cuts to its own budget.
New York City Jewel is State’s Financial Crown
Bloomberg stated that the state-wide budget cuts will affect the City in a disproportionate way, creating a more serious situation for citizens of New York City than for the rest of the state.
Mayor Bloomberg explained his defiant outrage after a City Hall news conference. “We are the jewel of the financial crown, if you will, in New York State. We’re the one that’s generating the money” Bloomberg said.
The state budget was announced on Sunday by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The $132.5 billion budget is without any significant tax hikes, but does include major trimming of both health care and education services.
Bloomberg’s administration had requested a $600 million boost to finance changes to the pension system, reinstating support for education and financing additional revenue-sharing funds. The new state budget however only delivers about one third of the asked-for monies, placing the city in the unpleasant position of now having to make more budget cuts than planned.
City Facing Severe Cutbacks
Even before the new budget was decided the city was expecting some serious slicing in its own expenditures, including about 6,100 less teachers, 20 fewer fire companies, and about 100 less senior centers. Under the terms of the new budget from the state the city may have to fire even more teachers, according to aides for Mayor Bloomberg.
In case some think that this latest drama is just part of the annual ritual dance of state versus city with city getting the budget they want at the last possible moment, think again. This year the city is facing worse than usual financial pressure, while at the same time the Governor has more than the usual amount of political clout on his side.
Governor Says the City Has the Money
But Cuomo’s aides have reassured the city several times that Bloomberg has created a financial crisis where none really exists. They have told the city that there really is money to pay teachers and to finance the rest of the city’s needs.
Josh Vlasto, spokesman for the governor, defended the state’s budget, explaining that the cuts are across the board and are a “shared sacrifice from communities across the state.”
“The city revenue position has improved so they have much less pressure on their overall budget” Vlasto said.
Mayor Bloomberg disagrees with this assessment, explaining that the city needs to be responsible and store some money to insure its solvency.
“Our whole objective is not to go into the following year on the brink of bankruptcy” the mayor said. “We have to have some money put aside for emergencies.”
Continuing in defiant mode, a Bloomberg spokesman shot back at the governor’s position saying,
“Albany wants to have it both ways: take credit for a budget with real cuts and take no responsibility for the consequences of those cuts.”