Bloomberg calls Albany out over state budget deal
Mayor Michael Bloomberg used some fighting words Monday when he scolded state leaders for a tentative budget agreement that fails to help New York City avert its own budget disaster and cover a $600 million deficit.
“The cuts that have been inflicted on New York City are an outrage,” Bloomberg told reporters outside of City Hall.
Despite the approximately $136 million in education funding being restored to the city in the Albany pact reached Sunday, about 6,100 teaching positions will still have to be cut, mostly through layoffs, Bloomberg said. There may be more jobs slashed on top of that, and city agencies have been asked to submit cuts to make up for the shortfall, the mayor warned.
Albany “wants to have it both ways: take credit for a budget with real cuts and take no responsibility for the consequences of those cuts,” a mayoral spokesman said in a statement.
To help fill the budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Bloomberg had asked the state Legislature to reform the fund that requires the city to pay $12,000 annually to police and firefighters and give the city its portion in a state revenue-sharing program. That aid was eliminated last year and was not restored this year.
Albany officials offered little sympathy. Joshua Vlasto, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said the city could have done more “prudent budgeting” if it suspected it wasn’t going to get state aid again.
“The city revenue position has improved so they have much less pressure on their overall budget,” Vlasto said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Albany legislators expressed optimism that the $132.5 billion state budget agreement reached with Cuomo would pass before the Friday deadline. Voting on the budget bills could begin as soon as Wednesday.