Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in unveiling his budget plan on Thursday, summed up New York City’s financial health with a phrase scarcely heard in the halls of government these days: “It’s good news.”
While other cities and states grapple with calamitous balance sheets and mass layoffs, Mr. Bloomberg proposed a $65.9 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year, an increase of $2.5 billion, or four percent, over the current budget.
And even as other governments have fallen into deep financial holes, the city’s forecast for tax revenues has increased by $2 billion since November, making the draconian cuts many city workers had feared unnecessary.
New York City stands on far surer financial footing than most major cities — at least for the moment — propped up by a financial industry that has come back roaring from the depths of the recession. Revenue from business taxes is expected to grow by 19 percent this year over the previous year.
Mr. Bloomberg, taking to the lectern to explain his budget, gloated as he spoke about the city’s record number of tourists, its better-than-average unemployment rate and its recovering commercial real estate market.
“We are in a much stronger position than most because we have planned ahead,” he said. “I’ve always been optimistic about New York.”
If everything in NYC is so peachy clean and the city is raking in an additional $2 billion in tax revenues, why is Bloomberg reducing the teaching force by 6,166 teachers (1,50o through attrition, 4,666 through layoffs)?
Might it be because he wants to, not because he, you know, has to?
Let's face it - he can ALWAYS avoid layoffs and class size increases.
All he would have to do is shut down some of the no-bid contracting the NYCDOE does with all those outside consultants, ratchet down the testing apparatus for a couple of years and cancel the CityTime project and other Bloombergian giveaways to his corporate cronies.
But he doesn't do any of that because he doesn't want to.
Instead he WANTS to lay teachers off because he knows he can use this "crisis" to gut seniority, tenure and the teachers union.
It's a CHOICE he is making.
Mulgrew and Company, arrogant insulated elites they may be, but even they have to know if they give on this stuff, it's GAME OVER for the UFT.
Seriously, what rationale is there for the existence of the UFT if seniority and tenure have been gutted?
So we have a SHOWDOWN here in NYC, not quite like the one transpiring in Wisconsin, but make no mistake, the stakes are just as high.
Bloomberg knows that he has the moneyed elite to back him on this and flood the airwaves, the tabloid covers and the TV stations with anti-union/anti-teacher garbage.
The anti-union/anti-teacher side is well-funded, well-connected, and well-heeled (and in Cathie Black's case well-sauced too.)
The UFT has morons like this working for them.
It doesn't seem like much of a fight, does it?
And yet, as I say, the stakes couldn't be higher.
The UFT cannot afford to "collaborate" or "concede" anything here - not layoffs, not furloughs, not pension changes, not ATR concessions.
Bloomberg has all the money he needs to run the system, without layoffs.
Cuomo said as much last week.
The city itself is saying that by acknowledging an additional $2 billion in revenue.
Hell, Bloomberg says the city is in great f---ing shape.
If all that is true, tell us, Moneybags, why the need for layoffs?