City may be in for even tougher fiscal times
With the state facing its largest budget deficit ever and Wall Street still hurting, New Yorkers may be forced to accept even deeper city spending cuts than originally proposed by the mayor.
It may be turning out even worse than what the city was saying, said Charles Brecher, research director of the Citizens Budget Commission, a non-profit group that monitors the citys finances. In times like this theres going to be shared burdens, people are going to pay more taxes and have reduced services.
In June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked all city departments to reduce their spending by 2.5 percent this year and 5 percent next year. But since then, the citys financial sector has suffered heavy losses and tax revenues are expected to decline into next year.Theres no question theres going to be major cuts to services, said Councilman David Weprin, chairman of the councils Finance Committee.
Weprin said he expects the mayors office to give his committee its quarterly budget projections next week.
At a news conference yesterday, Bloomberg said he expects tax revenue to be down 10 to 12 percent. Thats twice the drop anticipated in the June budget, according to Doug Turetsky, chief of staff for the citys Independent Budget Office.
We prepared for a downturn; we didnt prepare for a meltdown, Bloomberg said.
Making matters worse, Gov. David Paterson announced toay that the state is looking at a $12.5 billion deficit, its largest ever.
A spokesman for Bloomberg declined to discuss what specific cuts or new taxes might come, but he noted the mayors budgets this year and next already anticipated about $4 billion in cuts. A recent 7 percent reduction in property taxes is also likely to be canceled.
The spokesman, Marc LaVorgna, said spending aimed at keeping streets clean, police protection and cultural institutions would not be on the chopping block.
The quality of life in the city has to be maintained, he said.