2011-02-04 / Top Stories

Bloomberg Knocks Cuomo On Budget Cuts

Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks that his city is not getting a fair share of the state budget pie, complaining that the city gives much more to the state than it gets back.

“When Andrew Cuomo ran for office, he made it clear that the State needed to make deep spending cuts – cuts that would have a major impact on our schools, our health care system, and our social services,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday in the wake of Cuomo’s budget announcement. “With this budget, he’s making good on his word – this budget cuts at least $2 billion from what Albany had repeatedly committed to New York City, including $1.4 billion in education aid. The Governor has inherited a very difficult situation, a broken budget process, and we know he has tough choices to make.

“I have said repeatedly that New York City will find the least painful way to shoulder our share of the burden – but we must be treated equitably with other parts of the state, and we must get reform and relief from Albany’s unfunded mandates. That’s also something the Governor campaigned on – freeing cities and towns from State mandated costs that localities can no longer afford. “Unfortunately, the budget does not treat New York City equitably; it eliminates 100 percent of New York City’s revenue sharing aid – more than $300 million – while cutting other localities by just 2 percent. The residents of our five counties pay a disproportionate amount of State taxes, and they deserve the same level of support.

“The Governor’s budget also doesn’t include mandate relief – on pensions, procurement, education, or a whole range of other issues – and it doesn’t take mandated cost increases driven by the State into account. For example, State mandates will contribute to increasing the cost of special education related services in our public schools by almost 13 percent next year. And our mandated pension costs will go up 19 percent. Those mandates are also on auto-pilot, and driving up local expenses every year.

“We can’t only look at one side of the equation. We need relief from unfunded State mandates, as well as changes in State law that would allow us to save money, particularly where we can find ways to save money that would not cost the State a dime.

“Without those changes, we will be looking at thousands of layoffs in our schools and across City agencies. And because of the last-in, firstout law, we would be forced to layoff teachers based solely on how many years they’ve logged on the job, not on the quality of the job they’re doing.

“This is just the beginning of the process. The Governor will have another opportunity within 30 days to propose cost savings that will save thousands of City jobs, and other reforms, and we look forward to working with him in the weeks ahead.”

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