By Joan Gralla
NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) - 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 budgets.
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 Grebler)