Spitzer Defends His Budget

One day after the mayor criticized the governor’s budget for not providing more money to New York City, Eliot Spitzer and members of the city’s business community defended the budget by contending that despite some cuts, New York City will come out ahead.

Spitzer was joined at a press conference this morning at the 399 Park Avenue offices of Citigroup by the CEO and president of the Partnership for New York City Kathy Wylde, and by the group’s co-chair Chuck Prince.

Standing behind a podium in a small conference room, Spitzer said that “New York City comes out net ahead $1.3 billion in this budget.”

Asked whether he wasn’t inclined to be more generous to NYC, which is, after all, his hometown, Spitzer said, “Where I happened to been born, or happened to have my residence for the last number of years, will not affect who benefits and who loses.”

After Spitzer left by a back door, one sharp-eyed reporter leaving the event spotted Rupert Murdoch waiting outside the conference room. After shaking hands with a few people, Murdoch took the elevator one flight to main floor and left.

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Partnership for New York City emailed to say that the appearance with Spitzer was in support of specific aspects of the budget, but was not intended as a statement either way on the general impact of the governor’s budget on the city.

From the email: “This morning the Governor said his budget does not hurt NYC. We did not take a position on that, but supported the direction of efforts to curb health spending and increase education aid to needy districts.”

– Azi Paybarah