NYC Mayor Unveils Budget Plan
Apr. 18, 2002
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NEW YORK (AP) _ A projected $5 billion budget deficit could result in layoffs and service cuts if the city doesn't get union concessions and state and federal help, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his latest warning about New York's bleak financial picture.
Bloomberg unveiled a $41 billion budget plan Wednesday that included the elimination of eight Fire Department engine companies, police spending reductions and less frequent trash pickups.
He said his proposal also relies heavily on borrowing to bridge the budget gap.
``If we get the help that we've asked for ... we will never have to implement any of these'' cutbacks, said Bloomberg. The City Council has until June 5 to approve a plan.
A key element of Bloomberg's proposal is $1.3 billion in savings that must be ratified by labor unions and state or federal authorities. Just $150 million in savings has been approved so far.
``It's time for the state and the federal government to step up,'' said Brooklyn firefighter Matty James, noting 343 firefighters died in the Sept. 11 attack. ``We've already given our fair share. We've given it in blood.''
Bloomberg spokesman Jerry Russo said the city's budget gap will require cost-cutting across the board.
``The city is in a fiscal crisis, and everybody is going to have to share in the sacrifices,'' Russo said.
Bloomberg inherited an economy roiled by the World Trade Center attacks when he took over at the start of the year.
Since he delivered his preliminary budget plan, the city's finances have taken a turn for the worse, with a projected deficit growing from $4.7 billion to nearly $5 billion.
The financial woes have prompted Bloomberg to call for increases in cigarette taxes and the restructuring of union pension benefits, among other cutbacks.