Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Fiscally Responsible Budget

De Blasio Squirrels Away Money Ahead of Contract Negotiations
Mayor deBlasio is off to a good start with his budget proposals.  I still hold Mayor Bloomberg's $1B+ discretionary tax rebate (2008? 2009?) - when the city had plenty of fiscal shortcomings to deal with (see, e.g. the 7 line extension) against him.  It was an irresponsible, pandering act.  So was leaving behind 150 open labor contracts and pretending there were no costs lurking off budget.
Unlike most recent budgets, Mr. de Blasio's opening salvo was a relatively rosy one, with no drastic cuts to services or personnel that have in past years sparked protests on the steps of City Hall. Indeed, he and his budget director could not name a single service reduction while unveiling a slew of new social programs that drew immediate praise from city council members and advocates. Still, the new mayor, who seemed far more reserved that usual as he ran through the city's finances with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, warned the city was facing "murky waters." He blamed the perilous situation squarely on the "unprecedented failure" of his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, to settle the long list of open labor contracts, which he displayed by name in tiny type on his screen for effect. "You know, I have to say this, and this will probably grate .. some people's ears, because I think the previous administration was given an artificially high level of credit for management," declared Mr. de Blasio to the room full of reporters and high-level staffers at City Hall. "You cannot ignore open labor contracts for years on end."
After 12 years of Bloomberg budgets, this city does not need any more service reductions, thank you very much.

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