NEW YORK, N.Y. - Provide the funding New York City needs, or your hometown may never be the same again -- that was the message Mayor Bill de Blasio had for President Donald Trump after unveiling his annual executive budget proposal Thursday morning.
“President Trump, here's my appeal to you: help New York city back on its feet. If you lead, the Senate will follow. It's on you, Mr. President."
Delivered via teleconference, de Blasio proposed an $89.3 billion financial plan.
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It’s a budget proposal unlike any other in this administration: it includes billions of dollars in cuts and reflects the financial havoc the coronavirus crisis has unleashed on the city.
The city has already spent $700 million to fight the virus and more than $3.5 billion could be spent by the end of the year. With the economy at a standstill, the city is projecting a $7.4 billion loss in tax revenue, a figure the mayor described as "horrifying.”
“Sales taxes are way down because people aren't going out, they're not buying things,” de Blasio said.
So unlike other years since he’s been mayor, de Blasio is making cuts across the entire city government — $2.7 billion over the next two fiscal years.
He’s mandating hiring freezes, cutting millions to summer programs, closing the city pools, delaying infrastructure maintenance, and slashing education spending.
De Blasio said closing pools is expected to save the city $12 million. The mayor said a decision had not been made yet on whether the city's public beaches will be open in the summer. He added New Yorkers should "lower their expectations" for what attractions and events might be able to operate this summer.
“Things that might have been a priority two, three months ago can't be a priority right now,” he said. “Things that we would love to focus on in peacetime, we don't get to focus on in wartime, and this, in effect, is wartime,"
De Blasio is asking Washington to make up for the city’s loss in tax revenue — nearly $8 billion in federal aid he says should be provided to save the nation’s economic engine. Left without federal aid, de Blasio says the city could not just struggle to return to normal, but face difficulty to provide core services: food, housing, and health care.
Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a budget watchdog organization cautiously, praised the cuts but warned there aren’t enough to stem more financial hits in the future.
“The key is to balance the pain among and over to the future so we can focus on the core services the mayor has identified: Food, housing, health -- we should be able to pare down to provide those services but do enough so we protect New Yorkers in the future," Rein said. "There will be pain; the key is to manage it well. This is the real test of this administration."
Unable to hold hearings, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said they will hold remote hearings over the coming weeks. The Council has said it will work with the mayor to ensure services are being delivered to all New Yorkers. A final deal is expected before the end of the fiscal year in June.