Bloomberg: State budget would force NYC layoffs

January 25, 2010 3:44:18 PM PST
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warns that the proposed state budget will force thousands of layoffs and could reduce police staffing to levels last seen in 1985, before the city emerged as a terrorism target. The mayor has his own budget problems, but he says Albany is making it worse.

The hardest hit? Teachers, and the mayor says he'll have to layoff 85-hundred of them.

That's what he testified in Albany.

If the governor's budget isn't changed, Bloomberg said the city, teachers and kids will suffer.

"So the state is effectively saying to localities we're going to fix our budget problems by starving your agencies," the mayor testified.

City schools have changed a lot under Bloomberg. Also a big court case was supposed to funnel a lot more money to city schools, but the pace of that funding could slow dramatically as Albany's budget problems worsen.

"I'm not saying yes we gotta have it and give it to us at all cost. I am saying yes we have to have it, but if you have to move it out a little bit that's okay. But to say now there's the possibility of 8,000 layoffs, totally unacceptable," city councilman Robert Jackson.

Bloomberg says Gov. David Paterson's proposed 2010-11 budget would cut $1.5 billion in funding to the city. He says that would also force layoffs of 3,150 police officers and 1,050 firefighters.

Those 16 fire company closings threatened last year might also be back.

"Everything is back on the table. The news out of Albany this morning was no good. T he mayor went up to testify and if the funding doesn't come through the mayor said it. That's means a thousand layoffs and that's not good for us today," FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano said.

Trash collection could be cut a third along with cutbacks in recycling.

Usually Albany fixes things at the last minute, but this year it's broke and so the mayor may have few other choices than to gut education programs soon.

"That will certainly lead to larger class sizes and fewer programs, but the great calamity will be if we have to layoff based on last in first out," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg's testimony drew assurances from lawmakers that they'd try to undo at least some of what Bloomberg calls an unfair budget for the city.