FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2008
STATEMENT BY MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON PASSAGE OF THE STATE BUDGET BY THE LEGISLATURE
"On balance, the budget agreement reached in Albany, with a few glaring exceptions, is good news for our City. The broken promises on revenue sharing have been mostly repaired. The State’s prior commitment to an increase in operating aid for New York City schools has been kept, building aid has been restored, the proposed eighteen month lag in funding for school construction has been eliminated, as has the wrong-headed mandate to micro-manage the city’s school budget. The proposal to break the state’s decades-long commitment to splitting welfare costs with municipalities - which would have set a terrible precedent - has been eliminated, as were the proposed cost shifts in juvenile detention and pre-school special education. These were serious flaws in the original executive budget that the Legislature rightly fixed. The Wicks deal reached last session that I supported has also been included in this budget, and it will save time and money on construction projects. In addition, the Legislature and the Governor agreed to increase the State cigarette tax by $1.25, which, as we’ve seen in New York City, will directly reduce teen smoking and save lives.
"This budget will help our City continue moving forward, even though we also have taken some big steps backward this week. We were, of course, enormously disappointed by the Assembly’s refusal to bring congestion pricing to the floor for a vote. The implications of their lack of action will be felt for decades to come. And today we take serious exception to the State’s decision to prohibit school districts from considering student performance data when making the critical decision to grant or deny a teacher the lifetime protections of tenure. This makes New York the only state in the nation that blocks local districts from using student data to evaluate teachers - and in this case, there’s no honor in being first. It is nothing more than a special interest protection for the few teachers who shouldn’t get an automatic lifetime appointment to the classroom, and our children will - once again - get the short end of the stick. We will continue to take all appropriate steps to hold everyone in the school system - principals, teachers, and students - accountable for success. Our children deserve no less."
Stu Loeser/John Gallagher (212) 788-2958