From City Hall:
During his budget address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would have to layoff more than 4,000 teachers, close 20 firehouses, shutter one-third of its senior centers, and eliminate more than 16,000 child care slots.
But budget analysts who know the process say those cuts are just theater, and are not likely to pass.
“The mayor wants to eliminate 20 fire companies again, but the City Council has always successfully gotten it back,” said Nicole Gelinas, a budget expert with the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. “The things that get the most public attention, and that people get most outraged about, they’re not huge budget items, and they’re things that politically just won’t happen.”
Gelinas added, “The mayor’s just playing bad-guy.”
Last year, for example, the mayor proposed a budget that would eliminate 8,500 teachers and 4,300 non-uniformed city positions. Those reductions did not come to pass.
The cuts he has called for in fiscal year 2011 are also scaled back considerably from what they were in November, aided by an “eye-popping” $2 billion windfall in revenue on the business tax side. The increase came from the recent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, as well as cuts to the capital gains tax, analysts said.
And the increase led the mayor to what some say is a questionable precedent: filling up a purported $1.86 billion gap in federal and state education funding with the city’s own money.
“It’s hard, when you find $2 billion in new revenue, to go with your hat to the state and say ‘I need money,’” said Citizens Budget Commission analysts Maria Doulis.