Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Mayor Cites Strong Private Sector In Executive Budget Address

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Mayor Bloomberg on Thursday lauded the strength of the city's private sector as he delivered his $70 billion executive budget proposal which does not raise taxes but also projects continued gaps for several years to come.

Despite the recession, the mayor says the number of private sector jobs breaks the record set in 1969. However, the spending plan shows a nearly half-billion dollar budget gap for fiscal year 2013.

Bloomberg says he plans to use the nearly half-billion dollars recovered from the CityTime scandal settlement to fill that gap.

While tax revenues are lower than expected from losses on Wall Street, Bloomberg says the city is using increased revenues in tourism, film and the TV industry to offset the losses.

"We can't do everything we want in the size and frequency that you would like, but the objective is to try to balance and make choices and we will try to do that and do it responsibly like we've been doing for 10 years," Bloomberg said.

The mayor's 2013 spending plan also does not call for any teacher layoffs or cuts to the city's police department.

However, Bloomberg wants to shutter 20 fire companies and slash more than 30,000 slots for day care and after-school programs for children.

The City Council is planning to fight those cuts.

"I still have grave concerns over how the remaining proposed cuts will impact working New Yorkers and their families," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

When asked about the criticism from some council members, the mayor responded, "I don't much care what he said if you really want to know. I think you're wasting everybody's time. Why would I care?"

But even those in the administration said the proposed cuts could make waves.

"Right now we have the best fire protection that we can. If we have to reduce them in the areas that we have to reduce them, it certainly will have an impact. But we'll pick the areas that have the least effect," said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.

Even worse, some revenue the city is relying on may not come in at all.

Bloomberg's plan assumes $300 million in state aid for education, but hinges on whether or not the city can strike a deal with the teacher's union on teacher evaluations by next January.

"We continue to talk on a variety of issues and I am always confident that we will come up with a deal by January," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

A billion dollars from the sale of taxi medallions as part of a plan to bring service to all five boroughs is also at risk, as the plan is tied up in court.

"If a judge holds you up, then we start laying off people," the mayor said.

Bloomberg said the city still faces budget gaps of roughly $3 billion in fiscal year 2014, $3.7 billion in 2015 and $3.2 billion in 2016.

The mayor now has until the end of June to negotiate a final version of the 2013 budget with the City Council. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP