By Joan Gralla
NEW YORK Jan 25 New York City will have to lay
off more than 10,000 public workers, in addition to 8,500
teachers, if the state legislature approves the $1.3 billion of
cuts the governor proposed in his deficit-closing budget, Mayor
Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
The mayor, in a speech to the legislature, estimated 3,150
police officers would be cut, reducing the force's "operational
strength" to 1985 levels.
About 1,050 firefighters would have to be let go, along
with 900 correctional officers, and the city would have to cut
its daily inmate population by 1,900, he said. The number of
at-risk children that service workers monitor would fall to
2,700 from 9,000, Bloomberg said.
The mayor, an independent, said Governor David Paterson's
budget "utterly fails the test of fairness." He told lawmakers:
"You can't lose control of the streets in terms of safety or
cleanliness. You can't lose control of the streets in terms of
an ambulance or a firefighter showing up."
Both the economies of New York City and the state depend on
Wall Street for much of their tax revenues, and big banks'
brush with near-death last year has severely dented public
Bloomberg is scheduled on Thursday to unveil his own budget
plan aimed at closing a municipal deficit of at least a $3
billion. He declined to say how much he would raise revenue
estimates for a number of banks and brokerages that have
swiftly resumed earning handsome profits.
"It is substantial, but I think here in Albany you have to
be careful and not think that you will get the benefit of
that," Bloomberg told legislators, noting that the city and
state have different tax regimes.
"There's not an expectation that the city's tax revenues
will get back to where they were, say, in 2007, very quickly,"
Bloomberg said. However, he noted that positive economic signs
include a rise in tourism-related employment to a record.
Bloomberg, a former Wall Street trader whose news and data
company made him a billionaire, said the federal and state
governments should avoid tax hikes and financial regulations
that could drive banks and brokers overseas.
"We cannot raise taxes anymore; at this point raising
income or property taxes will drive more people out of the
state than the revenue they bring in," he said.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan