Bloomberg plans more layoffs, sales tax hike

May 1, 2009 3:47:07 PM PDT
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's election-year budget spares teachers, police officers and firefighters from his layoffs.Bloomberg is cutting another 3,750 jobs from the city payrolls to help close the budget gap for the next fiscal year. None of them would be teachers or uniformed workers.

Bloomberg's proposal would also raise the sales tax to 8.875% from 8.375% , eliminating the exemption on clothes, and charging 5 cents for every plastic bag.

"We just don't have the money," Bloomberg said. "It's everybody that's going to have to share in this."

The mayor ruled out raising income taxes on high-earning New Yorkers and the City Council refused to raise property taxes.

"People that have more money buy a lot more things, and they spend more of it," Bloomberg said Friday as he presented his plans for the 2010 budget.

He said the city has no choice but to lay off thousands of workers, cut spending further and raise the sales tax to bridge a multibillion dollar budget gap amid the recession.

Bloomberg is trying to close a budget gap created shrinking tax revenues. He said tax revenues, which includes personal income, sales, business, and real estate transfer taxes, are projected to fall by 30 percent, or nearly $7.4 billion, in FY 2010 when compared to FY 2008 levels - before the economic downturn began impacting City revenues.

Bloomberg is also seeking 10 percent health care contributions from New York City employees as he tries to bridge budget gaps.

City employees currently contribute various levels to their health care. The mayor wants everyone to contribute at least 10 percent. That would generate more than $350 million in savings.

He's also asking the city's labor unions to help achieve $200 million in savings through a health care cost containment program.

The mayor, who's running for re-election, had initially threatened the unions with 14,000 layoffs if they did not renegotiate labor contracts and kick in more for health care.

He was not successful in that effort.

Bloomberg already has cut billions in spending for next fiscal year, but announced another $324 million on Friday.

The cuts include reducing overtime for administrative employees in the Fire Department, shrinking the force of traffic enforcement agents and slashing library jobs.

The mayor also is saving money by eliminating thousands of jobs. On top of layoffs already announced last year and in January, Bloomberg says another 1,115 city workers will lose their jobs.

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ON THE NET:

Read the budget documents
http://www.nyc.gov/html/omb/html/publications/finplan05_09.shtml


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