NEW YORK—In the Fiscal Year 2011 Executive Budget, 13,541 city jobs will be cut throughout New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a press conference on Friday. Most of the cuts will come through attrition, while a total of 3,759 will come through layoffs.
In efforts to keep New York City afloat amid the current deficit, city agencies are forced to take a total of $3.4 billion in gap closing actions, which the job cuts will be a part of.
On a bright side there will be no job cuts for staff teachers or uniformed officers. Several measures are being taken to reduce impact on jobs, businesses, and city services.
“We're in a situation that's trying, but not dire,” Bloomberg said during the press conference. “We can't control the world's economy or our nation's, but what we can do and what we are doing to bring New York City's economy back as soon as possible.”
He said that the budget “will get us through these difficult times” and avoids the “worst case scenario” mentioned in the January budget.
The city budget suffered a serious blow from the global financial crisis, which took the jobs of an estimated 294,000 New Yorkers. Bloomberg said that job losses cost the city close to $5 billion in tax revenues.
“We had no way of knowing then just how harsh and painful the current recession would prove to be,” Bloomberg said.
“When you wonder why we're in the situation we're in, that's fundamentally the answer. Every single tax category is down,” he said.
To avoid a worse situation, the FY 2011 budget relies on a minimum of $1.4 billion in “anticipated actions” from Albany and organized labor.
Bloomberg said that “if we were to have no help from Albany and labor, it really would be a serious situation.”
There is a proposed Tier 5 pension plan for city employees that would result in an immediate savings of $200 million for the city in the coming year. By 2030, the Tier 5 pension plan would save the city an estimated $7 billion. This pension tier would need to be created through state law.
The Administration is seeking cooperation from organized labor to achieve $200 million of annual savings through a health care cost containment program. The Administration is also seeking 10 percent health care contributions from City employees, which would generate more than $350 million in annual savings beginning in FY 2011.
Other actions include a sales tax increase and a new fee for plastic bags in stores throughout the city, both of which will require approval from the state legislature.
The sales tax increase would bring up the city portion of the current tax by 0.5 percent and would repeal the current sales tax exemption on clothing. It is estimated this tax would bring in an additional $1 billion to the city.
According to Bloomberg, the sales tax increase and the pension tier are “exactly what state leaders did during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and doing that would provide immediate budget relief.”
The new budget also includes an updated four-year financial plan.
The city is being forced to use nearly $5 billion of its surplus to reduce the impact on New Yorkers. According to Bloomberg, “We're lucky this year. We had a surplus to roll over. We're using all the surplus, fundamentally.”
Although it is helping this year, having next to no surplus for the next fiscal year paints a “murky” picture. “It is a very big problem for 2011, 12, 13, as far as we can see,” Bloomberg said.
Still, the situation isn't all bad. Bloomberg mentioned that despite the crisis, crime went down 13 percent this year, fire deaths are the lowest in seven years, and the murder rate is down 25 percent this year.
“Even though we've taken the $3.4 billion gap closing actions, we have some things to look back on and say, well the city really is better than before,” Bloomberg said.
Jobs cut will be as follows:
Police: Reduction of 125 Traffic Management Enforcement Agents – $5 million.
Fire: Reduction of uniformed administrative overtime – $3.4 million.
Parks: Reduction in seasonal staff equivalent to 115 positions – $4.4 million.
Citywide Administrative Services: renegotiation of City leases – $2 million.
Libraries: Four percent reduction in subsidies equivalent to 241 positions – $11.2 million.
Information Technology: Renegotiation of vendor contracts – $4.8 million.
Sanitation: Reduced waste export contract costs – $6.5 million.
Children's Services: Eliminate 1,100 low-priority childcare slots – $9.1 million.