Anxiety over Bloomberg's tax hike warning

November 6, 2008 4:09:59 PM PST
The tax increases could come from all directions, whether you work in the city, live in the city or just shop in the city. The one proposal that has most people reacting is the mayor's suggestion to eliminate the property tax rebate. It's a 400-dollar check for small homeowners. They've been receiving it since 2004, and many people were counting on it this year.

"We knew the idea would come up for next year, but for this year those checks were supposed to have gone out in October," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "Many families may be counting on that money in their annual budget, and to withdraw it could cause a big hole in their pockets."

Mayor Bloomberg also warned of a 7 percent hike in property taxes and he's hinting at trying to raise income taxes as well.

If income taxes go up by as much as 15 percent, which is possible, people making between 75 and 90 thousand dollars per year in the city would find themselves paying $356 more.

"There will be pain, and there will be lots of people not happy," Bloomberg said.

"That would definitely affect my disposable income. Most definitely. That would be disastrous," Brooklyn resident Valence Williams said.

Not to mentionwhat some on the city's finance committee fear - if income taxes don't go up statewide, the city could lose more good workers.

"We're losing a lot of jobs as it is. I don't wanna have another disincentive to work in New York," Council member David Weprin said.

While it is true, many New Yorkers realize they'll have to pay to keep the city running.

"Can't cut policemen's salaries. You can't cut firemen's salaries. MTA is strapped. You know, you want things, you got to pay for it," Maurice Nicholson of Brooklyn said.

The sobering budget update, delivered just as Bloomberg prepares to run for re-election, includes the decision to cancel the next class of more than 1,000 police cadets this January. The New York Police Department will go without those officers, and the next class will begin in July.

The citywide work force will shrink by 3,000 employees: 500 through layoffs and the rest through attrition. That includes 475 non-classroom jobs in the Department of Education.

The city will close a health clinic and a homeless shelter in Manhattan and dental health centers citywide that serve some 17,000 poor children each year. Funding to cultural institutions shrinks by 2.5 percent this fiscal year and 5 percent in fiscal 2010.