New York Daily News

January 25, 2010



 

Mayor Bloomberg's warning on Gov. Paterson's proposed $134B budget: It will cost city 18,500 jobs

BY DANIEL EDWARD ROSEN
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives a dire forecast before a joint legislative hearing on the proposed budget in Albany on Monday.    
Groll/AP
 
Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives a dire forecast before a joint legislative hearing on the proposed budget in Albany on Monday.  

ALBANY - Mayor Bloomberg raced here Monday to deliver a blunt message to lawmakers: Gov. Paterson's proposed budget will cost 18,500 city jobs.

Bloomberg testified he'd be forced to trim teaching, police and firefighting positions and slash services under Paterson's $134 billion 2010-11 spending plan, which shrinks the city's payout by $1.3 billion.

"The budget cuts that the governor's budget proposes would inevitably damage the quality of life in the city that drives the economy of this entire state," Bloomberg said.

While mostly ripping Paterson's budget as unfair to the city, Bloomberg praised plans for a tax on sugary soft drinks and a $1-per- pack increase on cigarettes.

"Purely health issues," Bloomberg told reporters.

Paterson Budget Director Robert Megna said the spending cuts were needed to close a $7.4 billion deficit. He accused the city of overstating the impact.

Administration officials maintain the budget only chops city funding by $748 million.

"The truth of the matter is that Gov. Paterson proposed across-the-board reductions to every single area of the budget and every single region of the state, which were targeted in a fair, equitable and progressive manner," Megna said.

Bloomberg said the effects of Paterson's budget would be "appalling," with 8,500 teachers and 10,000 city workers losing their jobs.

The losses would include 3,150 police officers, 1,050 firefighters and 900 correction officers.

Bloomberg said the city would also cut street cleaning and litter collection, reduce curbside garbage collection, lay off 500 parks personnel, close 15 senior centers and eliminate funding for 500 soup kitchens.

He said students could be forced to "pay thousands of dollars a year" for student MetroCards under Paterson's plan.

City PBA President Patrick Lynch said the proposed cuts would be "catastrophic."

"Reducing further an already- diminished police force is not an option," Lynch said.

FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, who told the Daily News Sunday the department may be forced to shutter firehouses, said the governor's proposal was "demoralizing."

Bloomberg's grim warning was similar to testimony he gave a year ago, when he threatened to lay off 14,000 teachers if the state didn't restore about $770 million that Paterson wanted to cut.

The Legislature eventually restored much of the money, and Bloomberg backed off the layoffs.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) promised to fight for more city funds."We are not going to allow New York City to be unduly shortchanged," Kruger said.

gblain@nydailynews.com