A sympathetic but frustrated Mayor Bloomberg responded Wednesday to Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to blame Governor Andrew Cuomo for the tough cuts he made in his 2011-2012 executive budget proposal, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy with it.
“Would I’ve done the same thing?” the mayor asked himself in front of a group of reporters at Wednesday’s press conference, “Probably an awful lot of them.” But the mayor reiterated that his role in state budget talks is to advocate for the city: “My first obligation is to explain to them clearly what the effect [of the cuts] will be.”
As for the specifics of Cuomo’s proposed budget, it will shut out the city from municipal revenue sharing for the second straight year, which in total will amount to $301 million. New York State’s 57 other counties will only suffer a 2 percent cut to revenue sharing. The mayor said he doesn’t have a problem with some limits, but it isn’t fair “cutting New York 100 percent when everybody else is [cut] 2 percent.”
But in contrast to overall “real” cuts, that money is chump change. The mayor claimed overall state cuts will amount to $2 billion, including $1.4 billion to education funding.
The State Budget Director, Robert Megna, disputed those numbers--He said the city would only see $918.4 million in state aid cut. And under municipal aid, Megna said the $301 million in revenue sharing was supposed to return under law but notes it’s not actually a cut.
Whatever the numbers are or will be, one thing is certain; City education funding will be hit hard. For the last couple of weeks, the mayor has been warning teachers across the city that layoffs are likely, possibly in the thousands.
If that occurs, the youngest teachers could be the first to go according to current policies. Bloomberg said teachers should be laid off based on merit, and that the “first in and last out” policy keeping the most senior teachers employed will deprive the city of hundreds of great teachers.
Albany still needs to vote on Governor Cuomo’s budget, and they’ll likely eliminate some deep cuts. The Mayor said now his job is to convince lawmakers that the state’s burden shouldn’t fall solely on New York City.