City budget full of cuts and layoffs

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The mayor’s threat to reduce the ranks of teachers by over 6,000 is one step closer to reality, as he recently unveiled the budget for the 2012 fiscal year.
The $65 billion budget does not call for any tax raises, but includes cuts to fire companies and other social services.
The over 6,000 teachers will be eliminated through attrition – 1,500 – and lay offs – 4,666.
“Same smoke, same mirrors, same attempt to blame others for his decision to lay off thousands of teachers, despite increased state aid, hundreds of millions in new revenues and a surplus that has grown to more than $3.2 billion,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement.
The mayor spoke about the need to balance the budget while being fiscally responsible and not “kick the can down the road.” Less money from the state and federal governments has placed the burden on the city’s tax payers, Bloomberg said.
“We are not immune to the realities in Albany and Washington,” said Bloomberg. “And the reality is both places are keeping more of our tax dollars to close their own budget deficits.”
The combined state and federal share of the city budget has been reduced from 36 percent to 27 percent over the past decade. Had the percentage stayed the same the city would have had an additional $6.1 billion in the budget.
The mayor also continued his calls for the modification of “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) urging Albany to end teacher firings based on seniority.
Though the budget calls for layoffs, the city has increased spending on education by more than $2 billion to offset state and federal cuts.
The budget looks to close 20 fire companies and reduce the FDNY’s budget by $200 million. The closing of fire houses will increase response times, a spokesperson for the FDNY said.
Homeless services, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, the Parks Department and libraries are also facing slashes to their funds.
Despite many budgetary cuts, funds were restored to the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) that were cut in the mayor’s preliminary budget. The cuts would have seen 16,000 day care seats for children of low-income families eliminated.
The 2012 fiscal year begins July 1.
The budget must be passed by the City Council.