Cuomo Urges de Blasio to Reduce ‘Waste’ in NYC Budget, Denounces Furloughs

Cuomo Urges de Blasio to Reduce ‘Waste’ in NYC Budget, Denounces Furloughs
(L) New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference in New York City on Sept. 8, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (R) Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks during a video press conference on the city's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak held at City Hall in New York City on March 19, 2020. (William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 16 urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to reduce “waste” in New York City’s budget shortly after the mayor announced he will be furloughing his entire office, including himself, for one week without pay to close a budget shortfall created by the CCP virus pandemic.

Responding to de Blasio’s Wednesday announcement, Cuomo said that there was “a lot of waste” in New York City’s budget, and that layoffs should be a last resort.

“I’m saying layoffs are the last thing you want to do. They’re the last option, especially in New York City where you have so many problems. We have a homeless problem. We have a crime problem. The city is dirty,” Cuomo said.

“Layoffs are the last option, but in a $90 billion budget that the city has, I’m sure there’s a lot of waste that you can find and that’s what you would need to do before you would go to borrow or lay off anyone.”

The mayor told reporters earlier that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak had caused the city to lose $9 billion in revenue and forced a $7 billion cut to the city’s annual budget.

De Blasio told reporters that while the one week furlough at some point beginning Oct. 1 will only save roughly $1 million, he hopes it may serve as a useful symbol as he continues to negotiate with labor unions representing municipal employees over broader payroll savings.

The mayor himself will go without pay during the week-long furlough, meaning he will lose out on an estimated $4,972 of his $258,541 mayoral salary, according to Fox News. His wife Chirlane McCray and 493 office staff will also be affected by the move, the New York Times reported.

“We have to make tough choices to move this city forward and keep our budget balanced,” de Blasio said. “It was not a decision I made lightly.”

“To have to do this is painful for them and their families, but it is the right thing to do at this moment in history.”

The mayor explained that the office budget this fiscal year will be 12 percent smaller than it was last year with the week-long furlough and other savings. He previously warned that 22,000 city jobs may be at risk if he is not able to negotiate with the labor unions and facilitate further savings.

“We’ve already had to make some tough cuts that have affected this city and the services we provide. We’ve tried everything we can to stop those cuts becoming worse,” the mayor said. “We don’t want to take away jobs from public employees, we don’t want to take away services from communities that need [them].”

Reuters contributed to this report.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
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