The News enclosing this week’s New York City budget obviously centered on #DefundthePolice needs . However, for all its bigger potential consequences for New Yorkers’ safety and high quality of life, the partly siphoned $1 billion”cut” from the New York Police Department funding was a sideshow in monetary terms.
the primary event was that the town’s squishiest, shakiest funding in 30 decades — and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s failure to grow satisfactorily to the challenge of a severe, looming fiscal crisis. Grappling with enormous earnings losses, both Gotham and New York state desperately have to reorder priorities, restructure operations and cut back spending.
However, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the country level, Hizzoner has failed to tackle this issue head on. Rather, additionally enjoy Cuomo, the mayor is preventing tough decisions and playing time. Both the mayor and the Senate are relying on Congress to send tens of thousands of dollars in unrestricted aid to cities and states as part of the following rescue bill, expected to pass in the end of July.
Much like the governor, the mayor entered 2020 inadequately prepared for some garden-variety downturn, less the sharp and abrupt recession in economic activity caused by the March COVID-19 lockdowns.
In his April budget proposal, the mayor exploited book funds, targeted national coronavirus relief help and savings by a hiring freeze to shut a two-year gap of $8.7 billion. De Blasio also requested the state Legislature for permission to borrow $7 billion to pay operating expenses — an intense measure for he could provide no persuasive justification. That notion did not get anyplace in Albany (though Cuomo himself’d won authority to issue up to $11 billion in deficit bonds).
In late May, p Blasio upgraded his budget to reflect an additional $1.6 billion fall in earnings, warning that the extra shortfall might induce him to put off 22,000 town employees.
He created yet another borrowing petition to the Legislature — now trying to issue $5 billion in deficit bonds within two decades, again without demonstrating some immediate need for the price. Again, he had been ineffective.
Without borrowing a cent, the new city funding purports to shut the extra earnings gap with projected savings on worker benefits and authorities pm, which are not likely to materialize.
Meanwhile, the City Hall’s traditionally low-balled earnings assumptions now seem skewed over the large side, given that the substantial doubt concerning the timing and strength of a restoration which has hardly started. The town’s projected financial 2022 budget gap of $4.2 billion might readily wind up more like $6 or $7 billion.
Cuomo comes with an even larger problem: a present budget gap of approximately $8 billion, which he’s threatened to shut with local assistance reductions up to 20 percentage when he does not get it out of Washington. The nation’s financial 2022 budget gap is approximately $17 billion — but Albany’s red ink will flow downhill, to the Big Apple and other regional authorities.
One clear money-saver for the state and city could be a public-employee wage freeze, which might be levied by state laws.
With countless New Yorkers from job and many if not most private-economy workers already absorbing pay reductions, a freeze could save the town at least 800 million and the country more than $300 million this past year.
However, the mayor hasn’t broached the prospect of a freeze. Cuomo has been pleased to administratively impose a temporary freeze on state-employee salary, suggesting he’ll allow the increases flow when the feds provide the help he desires.
While anticipating a national handout, de Blasio is needed to introduce his recently adopted budget to the state Financial Control Board — whose chairman is your Senate.
But, unlike all of his predecessors since the mid-1970s — the exception being the short-lived Eliot Spitzer — Cuomo in nine years as governor hasn’t attended the board’s yearly summer meeting, which often happens within a couple weeks of this town’s budget passing.
A looming fiscal crisis are a fantastic time for the Senate to take his financial oversight job more seriously.
E.J. McMahon is a senior fellow in the Empire Center for Public Policy and a Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow. Twitter: @EJMEJ