Bloomberg Releases Budget, Slashes Teachers
May 6th, 2011
Bloomberg deflected all of the blame for the fiscal pain. Instead, he pointed towards Albany and Washington.
“Both places are keeping our tax dollars to close their budget deficits,” Bloomberg said. “If the state was paying 50 percent of the Department of Education, we would not be talking about laying off teachers.”
While Bloomberg did not hesitate to blame Albany, he also acknowledged the city was unlikely to receive any reprieve from the state or federal government. For now, the city will use the remainder of its surplus to close the budget hole.
The mayor’s executive plan did back away from slashing 16,000 child care slots — the result of a loss in federal funding. The administration plans to save the positions by expanding after school programs and increasing funding for the Administration for Children’s Services. The cost of the slots was originally put at $91 million. Officials said the program could be saved with just $40 million.
Advocates and council members, however, questioned the mayor’s calculations.
“With the budget released today, the administration is continuing its assault on early childhood education by cutting $50 million from our city’s child care,” said Councilman Steve Levin. “It is an outrageous sleight of hand that this administration would present itself as the savior of child care while simultaneously destroying it for thousands of New Yorkers. It’s like someone starting a fire, just so he could take the credit for putting 40 percent of that fire out.”
In a joint statement, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Finance Chairman Domenic Recchia identified teacher layoffs, the child care cuts, a 29 percent cut to libraries and fire companies as their top priorities.
“Since the recent financial crisis and recession, the City Council has worked aggressively to control spending and manage the cityís budget in a fiscally responsible manner while protecting vital services,” they said. “Thatís why we have grave concerns about a budget that allows for teacher layoffs, which would be immensely damaging to our education system and children’s opportunities for a quality education. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to prevent teacher layoffs.”
The council is expected to identify other areas of the budget to cut instead. Already, council officials are calling on the mayor to find savings in its outside contracting.
This latest proposal represents the 10th round of cuts for the Big Apple in three years. In order for the council to stave off teacher layoffs, officials would have to identify $435 million in additional savings, according to the Bloomberg administration. To prevent the fire company closures, it would have to find another $55 million.
The council will kick off their budget hearings next week. The mayor and the council must reach a budget agreement before July 1.
More analysis and reaction to come later.By Courtney Gross on May 6, 2011, 2:13 pm
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