It's a Budget!
June 29th, 2011
By a vote of 49 to 1, the City Council today approved a $66 billion budget for New York City for fiscal year 2012. The measure contains no teacher layoffs and does not shut any fire companies — but it does include layoffs for at least 1,000 other city workers and cutbacks in some popular programs, such as scholarship for student at the City University.
Despite that most council members clearly thought they had done a pretty good job.
This is, Speaker Christine Quinn said, “not a perfect budget. It would be impossible to have a perfect budget when the city and our tax revenues are still feeling the effects of the recession.”
But Quinn, Finance Committee chair Domenic Recchia and others applauded the council for reversing what they saw as some of the worst parts of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s executive budget. “What we did in this budget was identify areas where the pain was too deep,” Quinn said.
In addition to avoiding the teacher layoffs and fire company closings, Recchia expressed satisfaction at putting back in some money for district attorneys, libraries and cultural institutions.
“We did all this,” he said, “without raising taxes, without going further into our trust fund and most of all we didn’t kick the can down the road.”
Amid the repeated thank yous and the hosannas for Quinn and Recchia, there were some dissents. Councilmember Charles Barron, who voted against the budget, said the teacher layoffs had always been a “red herring” put forth by a “bully mayor.” That strategy, he indicated paved the way for the council to accept reductions, such as such as the layoffs of workers and the cutting of the Vallone scholarship program. Urging his fellow members to vote no, Barron said, “”This budget should be a reflection of our morality and our principles.”
Explaining his yes vote, Jumaane Williams said he believed the council budget “is better than what we had.”,” but, he continued, “I donít think it’s a celebratory budget.”
At the other end of the spectrum, several members, mostly Republicans but a Democrats or two as well, caste votes against some of the revenue measures in the package, such as increases in certain fees.
(Only 50 members voted on the budget because of Annabel Palma’s absence for medical reasons.)By Gail Robinson on June 29, 2011, 2:31 pm
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