More Budget Cuts, More Budget Blame
May 5th, 2011
In his budget presentation set for Friday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will announce his 10th round of budget cuts but will try to keep New Yorkers from blaming him – or Wall Street — for the layoffs and reductions in services. Instead the mayor intends to tell anyone listening that the federal and state governments are responsible for any fiscal pain they may feel next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
A budget preview released by the mayor’s office Thursday said cuts would not have been needed if the state and federal governments had increased their funding to the city to keep up with rising costs. Without providing any details – those, no doubt, will come Friday morning — the statement also blames Washington and Albany for much of the rise in costs.
Overall, Bloomberg’s office said he has cut $5.4 billion in city spending since 2008 including some $400 million expected to be set out tomorrow. But by the administration’s calculation if the state and federal governments were to provide the city with the same share of its budget as they had in 2002 (no explanation as to why they chose that year), the city would get an additional $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2012, eliminating the need for cuts.
While the state and federal governments may not be doing their fair share, Wall Street apparently has, according to Bloomberg. The administration projects the city will collect $5.75 billion in business tax revenues in the coming fiscal year up from $5.41 billion in 2008.
This aims to rebut claims from labor and other groups that the city has suffered because of mismanagement -– and worse – on Wall Street but is making working people pay the price. It does not, of course, address arguments that the richest New Yorkers — many of whom work on Wall Street — are getting even richer and paying lower taxes in a time of budget cuts.
As to whether Bloomberg’s criticism of the state and federal governments – and exoneration of Wall Street — will stave off any public outrage or City Council opposition to the likely cuts remains unclear. Advocates and unions already are preparing to oppose some of the reductions in jobs and services. And one group already has been successful. In the material released Thursday, the mayor’s office said he would not cut the 16,000 child care slots Bloomberg called for eliminating in his preliminary budget.
It remains, unclear, whether Bloomberg will follow through on his threat to lay off thousands of teachers.By Gail Robinson on May 5, 2011, 11:06 pm
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