FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2012
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HOW PRUDENT PLANNING AND SPENDING DISCIPLINE RESULTED IN A NEW BUDGET WITH NO TAX INCREASES AND NO LAYOFFS FOR TEACHERS OR UNIFORMED SERVICES
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, February 5, 2012.
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Let me give you three basic reasons why today New York is in better financial shape than many other cities in the nation. First, we put money aside during the last economic boom. Second, we began exercising budget discipline even before the national recession began. And third, we’ve continued to make investments that protect our city’s future and spur its growth.
“That combination of strategies is why last week, when we presented the City’s preliminary budget for the 12 months beginning this coming July 1st, we were able to balance it without increasing taxes or laying off teachers or uniformed workers. At the same time, we’ll also be able to move ahead on the job-creating projects New Yorkers need.
“Planning ahead pays off. Back when the economy was firing on all cylinders, working with the City Council and its Speaker Christine Quinn, we reserved some of the increased tax money that rolled in as a result. Then when the economy stalled and revenues fell, those reserves helped plug gaps in budgets over the past several years. Saving for a rainy day just makes sense – and it’s exactly what we did.
“We also acted swiftly and decisively nearly five years ago, when the first storm clouds began appearing on the economic horizon. Well before most other cities or states took such precautions, we directed City agencies to begin tightening their belts – a process that has continued ever since. The result: A more productive workforce that in our next fiscal year will operate with some 20,000 fewer employees than worked for the City back in 2002, and agency actions that have created more than $6 billion in annual savings that will make a huge difference in balancing our new budget.
“Then there’s investing in the city’s future: In the 1970s, our City government stopped doing that, with disastrous results. We won’t make that mistake again – which is why we’re planning to invest more than $39 billion during the next several fiscal years in schools, parks, bridges, highways, and other vital projects. That also includes investing $100 million in the major new applied sciences campus that will be built on Roosevelt Island – a school that we’re confident will spin off hundreds of new businesses and generate tens of thousands of jobs in the years to come.
“So we’ve done all we can to keep our budget in good shape and our economy growing. But going forward, we need to do even more – especially in curbing the City’s pension costs. Today they’re six times – that’s right, six times – greater than they were just 10 years ago. Pension costs now absorb one out of every six City tax dollars – dollars that can’t be used to pay teachers, police officers, or firefighters, or maintain the parks, libraries, or other services our growing city needs.
“That can’t go on – and that’s why we’re joining Governor Andrew Cuomo in urging creation of a new, more affordable pension plan for future State and City employees this year. That will ensure that the pension system stays healthy for those workers. It will also be crucial to balancing City budgets in the long run.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening. And go Giants!”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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