FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES TOUGH BUT NECESSARY STEPS TO CUT SPENDING AND RAISE REVENUE IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, November 9, 2008
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"This morning I want to talk about what the ongoing financial crisis means for your City government. Because our economy is stalling and our tax revenues are falling, we've had to make some tough choices. They probably won't be popular with everyone. But they're what we have to do to pull out of this crisis, while we also continue making our city safer, improving our quality of life, and giving our students the first-rate education they deserve.
"The economy began slowing down well over a year ago, and City agencies responded by squeezing hundreds of millions of dollars out of their budgets. Nevertheless, when the sub-prime mortgage meltdown mushroomed into a global financial crisis, it caused the deficit between City revenues and our planned expenses through June 2010 to widen to $4 billion. The only responsible thing to do was to start closing that gap now - because if we waited, the job of balancing our budget would only get harder.
"That's why last week I outlined $1.5 billion worth of actions all City agencies are taking to help close the budget gaps this fiscal year and next. To decrease spending even further, we will, for example, shrink the City's workforce by some 3,000 positions.
"More than 80 percent of these reductions will come from attrition, including cancelling the Police Academy class that would normally begin in January. There also will be some 200 layoffs at the New York City Housing Authority and more than 300 layoffs from the field and administrative staff of the Department of Education. That's not anything we want to do - but the fact is that by downsizing DOE's administrative staff, we're largely protecting our children's classrooms from this current round of budget cuts. We'll also save millions of dollars other ways - for example, in how we use, fuel, and maintain the City's 27,000 vehicles.
"But cost-cutting alone won't be enough - not if we're going to protect our essential City services. Unfortunately, we've also got to raise revenues. Continuing the property tax cut that I first proposed and the City Council enacted in 2007 always depended on a healthier economy than we have now. So I'm asking the Council to move up the expiration date on that 7 percent tax reduction to January 1st instead of next July 1st. With the economic decline continuing to eat into tax revenues this fiscal year and next, we also just can't afford to send out the $400 property tax rebates that we've provided to homeowners in past years.
"And even with all these measures, we're not out of the woods. Unless the economy suddenly and dramatically turns around, we're still expecting a budget gap of $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year. I know that many families across the city are already struggling with the effects of the economic downturn. And there are likely to be more tough times ahead for New York. There just aren't any magical solutions for getting around them.
"But we do know how to get through them and speed our economic recovery: By pushing each dollar further; by protecting the vital services that will bring jobs and growth back to our city; and by once again pulling together as New Yorkers.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address