Bloomberg orders budget cuts

September 23, 2008 8:32:05 PM PDT
Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered all city agencies to slash spending this year and plan to do so the next to weather the significant local impact of the Wall Street meltdown.Bloomberg's budget director Mark Page issued the order in a letter Tuesday, telling agencies that they must cut spending by 2.5 percent this fiscal year, which ends next June. They must also form plans to reduce spending by 5 percent the following year.

The cuts amount to $500 million now and $1 billion in fiscal 2010. Agency heads must submit their proposed spending reduction plans to the mayor's budget office by Oct. 8.

"Hopefully, the recent market extremes will run their course sooner, rather than later," Page wrote.

But he added that the turmoil on Wall Street was likely to mean further losses of jobs and tax revenues "well into the future."

The city's economy is significantly dependent on Wall Street: For every billion dollars in profits, the city reaps $70 million in direct taxes plus all the indirect benefits from money spent in the city by financial workers.

The actions the city must take to nurse its fiscal health "may not be clear for some time," Page noted.

He added that reducing spending is among the first steps.

Another move expected from the administration is to eliminate the 7 percent property tax cut that was put in place last year and continued again this fiscal year.

Bloomberg has repeatedly said that the tax cut wasn't guaranteed, and he has hinted many times in recent days that the city probably couldn't afford to keep it.

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