Bloomberg Fuming, Says NYC Education Shortchanged By Proposed Budget


bloombergThe state budget deal will likely restore upward of $136 million in education money to New York City. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that’s not enough.

“We’ve tried to come up with things to mitigate the pain,” Bloomberg said. “We said we would absorb our fair share of cuts provided we got reforms that allowed us to save money. Instead we got cut disproportionately and got no reform.”

He said the city will have to cut further than expected as it prepares next year’s budget. Bloomberg had demanded $600 million in restored funding and rule changes from the state during budget negotiations.

“I think that proportionally the cuts that are inflicted on New York City are an outrage,” Bloomberg said.

CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reports the mayor was particularly upset that the state didn’t give the city the $200 million it requested under the so-called “AIM” program, which stands for “aid and incentives for municipalities.”

“We got cut 100 percent; everybody else got 3 percent,” Bloomberg said.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who closed a massive $10 billion gap and delivered the state’s first on-time budget since George Pataki, was in Albany and didn’t take kindly to the mayor’s comments, to say the least.

“AIM to the city was not cut 100 percent,” said Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto. “AIM aid was eliminated last year, so it is a zero percent increase for fiscal year 2011-12. Prudent budgeting would not have counted that as an increase.”

Cuomo’s office insisted the city is getting millions to keep senior centers open and to protect the homeless, and that there is tens of millions in extra education aid. Union officials said the city would get well over the $200 million in extra school aid it requested, but still the mayor did not rule out additional teacher cuts above the nearly 6,200 already planned. He said the state still shortchanged the city by $400 million.

“At $400 million you’re talking about a much smaller workforce,” Bloomberg said.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew slammed Bloomberg, saying the city has a surplus, doesn’t need to cut any teachers and got all the new education aid he asked for.

“He’s still saying he needs to do layoffs. Stop it. He needs to stop it. Mr Mayor, I am asking you, please, stop it,” Mulgrew said.
Cuomo and legislative leaders struck a tentative state budget deal Sunday, but extensive negotiations are still happening.

No one seems to think the tentative spending plan is threatened. But much work remains for the inches-thick budget bills to be written and passed by Thursday night to adopt the budget on time, as promised.

Among the big unknown details is how much funding will be restored to schools if it will be enough to avoid most or all teacher layoffs.

Legislators are up in arms about the rent regulation issue. The budget did not include an extension of the rent regulations laws.

“This needs to be discussed in the open. No secrets, no backroom deals…2.5 million New York City tenants desperately need protection,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal who represents the Upper West Side.

In the past, Rosenthal says they’ve been forced to accept last-minute deals that allowed landlords to start charging market rates.
Veteran Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright summed up the hope when he closed a work session by saying: “May the force be with us.”

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