Earlier today, Christine Quinn delivered her response to Mike Bloomberg’s proposed budget. Quinn’s proposal is predictably generous in ways that will please her 50-member constituency on the council — $261 million for renter rebates, for example, and $15 million for library funding — but is, in other ways, deliberately restrained.
In all, Quinn’s budget proposal had $61 million more in spending than Bloomberg’s.
She singled out $12 million being spent on the mayor-appointed Panel for Educational Priorities that could go instead “to programs in the classroom.”
Quinn also identified $6.2 million in “potential cuts to Council-funded initiatives,” including $70,000 to the Conflicts of Interest Board, $1 million to the Buildings Department, $50,000 to the Community Mayors, Inc., $400,000 to the NYC Council Nursing Scholarship Initiative, $2,225,000 to the Asian American Hepatitis B Project, $908,000 to the New York Junior Tennis League and other programs.
Councilman Alan Gerson, in whose district Quinn was when she made the budget proposal, sounded somewhat uneasy about the rebates. “They’re fiscally responsible,” he told me, “but the question is are they strategically responsible, or are they strategically the best route to go in order to meet critical needs.”
The mayor, reacting later in the day, seemed enthusiastic about at least some elements of Quinn’s budget. “One of the things that I was pleased to see in her budget was she did have some money-saving ideas,” he said.
— Azi Paybarah