NEW YORK May 3 New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg on Thursday presented an updated $68.7 billion budget
plan that includes funds to hire about 2,500 new teachers but
freezes wages for public workers.
The new hires will make up for an equal number of teaching
jobs expected to be lost by attrition.
"I think at the moment we do not have monies to give raises,
that is clear," the mayor, a political independent, said at a
news conference. "I think it's clear down the road that no
administration is going to have the money to give pay in the
past," he said, referring to retroactive pay.
New York City is required by law to balance its budgets. It
faces future structural deficits, as expenses are expected to
The city faces potential budget gaps of $3 billion in fiscal
2014 and $3.7 billion in 2015, said Bloomberg, whose final term
ends in December 2013. A nearly $3.2 billion shortfall was
forecast for 2016. He predicted that closing those deficits
could require further deep spending cuts.
"2014 will really be a challenge for us; it's hard to see
where a big change will come without cutting expenses," he said,
adding that the budget plan does not impose new taxes.
Despite a surge of new employers - from film to biosciences
- New York City's economy still depends on Wall Street.
Bloomberg expects this sector's profits to rise to $10 billion
in calendar year 2012 from $7.7 billion in 2011. The latest
forecast is one-sixth of the $61.4 billion of profits securities
firms earned in 2009.
The risks in the new budget plan include whether the city
comptroller and two lawsuits will block a $1 billion sale of
taxi medallions planned for July, and whether the city will lose
$300 million of state education aid. Winning that aid requires
the mayor and the teachers union to negotiate a deal on
teachers' evaluations by January 2013.
The mayor is also relying on a $466 million restitution
payment from SAIC to nearly plug a $495 million budget
gap in the current budget and the new one that starts on July 1.
The Democratic-led City Council has been expected to propose
other ways of spending that settlement.
"It is not available for other purposes as some other people
would have liked," said the mayor.
Bloomberg is breaking a string of 11 rounds of orders to
agencies to cut spending, which began in 2007 and ended in
November 2011. Still, 40,000 school daycare slots will be cut,
along with 20 fire companies - unless the city council restores
Bloomberg is not setting money aside, as has been done in
the past, for retroactive pay hikes for contracts being
negotiated with public workers unions.
Harry Nespoli, who chairs the Municipal Labor Committee, a
coalition of more than 90 unions, blasted Bloomberg for failing
to resolve contracts that have been open since fiscal 2008.
"The hard-working city employees, who help make New York
City prosper, cannot continue to be victims of projected fiscal
difficulties which are always resolved," said Nespoli.
The five-year capital program will rise by nearly $800
million to $39.5 billion, under the mayor's plan.
Since Bloomberg took office in 2002 he has cut the city's
workforce by 18,198 positions, or 5.8 percent, to 293,606.