New York Post
October 23, 2004

MIKE: CITY MUST PERFORM $900M 'BALANCING' ACT

By DAVID SEIFMAN
City Hall Bureau Chief

City agencies are going to have to come up with $900 million in additional savings to help close a budget gap next year now estimated at $3 billion, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

Just days after dispensing $250 million in property-tax rebates, the mayor warned that the city is going to need substantial help from the state and federal governments to make it through fiscal 2006, which begins next July 1.

"The city does not have any money," Bloomberg told a listener to his radio show who questioned why cops are working without a contract.

Patrick Lynch, the police union president, accused the mayor of engaging in "scare tactics" three weeks before cops try to make their case for higher wages before state arbitrators.

"He's trying to scare people into thinking that New York City is not in good financial shape before police officers go to arbitration," Lynch charged.

But Bloomberg said galloping Medicaid, pension and health-care costs have a stranglehold on his budget.

"Every year, we have to come with $6 billion more in revenue than we did back in fiscal 2001," he said.

So, he's ordering agencies to find ways to save $300 million this year and another $600 million next year. Aides said there were no immediate details.