Financial Woes Could Derail New York City’s Education, Anti-Crime Plans
NEW YORK (AP) _ Plans to crack down on crime and boost the quality of education in New York City could be gutted by the state’s financial woes, say city officials bracing for the loss of millions of dollars.
A plan unveiled Saturday to wipe out a state budget deficit of nearly $1 billion will cost the city about $100 million this year, Gov. Mario Cuomo said. But Mayor David Dinkins said ″an initial review suggests these costs may be greater.″
The cutbacks come after Dinkins already announced plans for layoffs and service reductions to close a city budget shortfall of $400 million this fiscal year and $1.6 million next year.
″We have no buffer left,″ lamented city Budget Director Philip Michael. ″There’s nothing left under a rock.″
Officials also say the lost revenues could cripple Dinkins’ $1.8 billion plan to hire 6,500 more police officers and the city’s agreement to increase teacher salaries 5.5 percent.
The plan to beef up the Police Department was to be paid for by a payroll tax on city residents and commuters that would require the state Legislature’s approval. It already faced stiff opposition before Cuomo announced his proposed cutbacks.
″This is not the most positive climate for seeking any tax increase,″ noted Thomas Reppetto, director of the Citizens Crime Commission.
Cuomo’s plan also seemed to generate new pressure on Dinkins to back out of the city’s Oct. 1 agreement with its teachers for 5.5 percent pay raises.
Cuomo wants to reduce state aid to the city’s schools by more than $70 million - money city officials were counting on for the teachers’ raises.
Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez also said the budget cuts could result in the layoffs of as many as 4,000 school employees, most of them teachers.
United Federation of Teachers spokesman Bert Shanas said the union would fight to keep the increases.
″As far as we are concerned, we have a legal binding contract,″ he said.