The Council's Cuts
December 8th, 2008
Without much fanfare, the City Council released its own slew of budget cuts yesterday — worth about $170 million for this fiscal year — as an alternative or addition to some of the mayor’s proposals.
The council identified more than 60 potential budget cuts, from slashing 311 funds to cutting $75 million out of the Department of Education, which could save the city $500 million over the next two years.
In a prepared statement announcing the council’s proposal, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, ” The events of the past few months, including the unprecedented mid-year budget hearings we held at the council, have made it abundantly clear that our financial crisis will not be corrected overnight. We must take the long view as we approach this and future budgets, so that we will avoid the mistakes of the 1970s and minimize the impact on our city.”
The council was holding what looks like would be its last budget hearing this morning on the cuts to the New York City Housing Authority. It doesn’t look like, however, that the council will take up the budget cuts at its stated meeting tomorrow.
It is not on the agenda, said one council spokesperson.
At issue is the $400 property tax rebate 600,000 home owners were supposed to receive in October. The mayor has said the city cannot afford to send it out. Also, cuts to senior services, including a day care program, have become controversial.
Many of the cuts they identified (available in an Excel spreadsheet here) are delaying programs, not eliminating them. Though the council has suggested doing away with a senior counsel program at the Law Department, which increases salaries for older attorneys in hopes of getting them to stay on. It also is looking to require teachers to perform jury duty in the summer months, which would save the city $1.5 million.
The council also proposed slowing the pace of new school openings, saving over $14 million this year.By Courtney Gross on December 8, 2008, 1:40 pm
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