Bloomberg Explains Rainy-Day Fund, Triborough Renaming Costs

Here are some highlights from Michael Bloomberg’s weekly radio interview with WOR’s John Gambling this morning.

In discussing the fiscal crisis, Bloomberg said the city is obligated to balance its budget each year and cannot hold onto surpluses because it’s prohibited from creating a rainy-day fund.

Gambling said, “That doesn’t make much sense, does it?" Bloomberg said it does because funds like that usually lead to more spending by the government, not less.

Asked about legal challenged to his plan to rescind the $400 rebate for homeowners, Bloomberg said, “We’ll never get to that because we’ll come up with something,” indicating, as Lew Fidler said yesterday, that this whole thing may be a negotiating tactic. Bloomberg said he’d be “happy” to send out the checks if there were another source of revenue.

Towards the end of the interview, a caller asked the mayor why, during a fiscal crisis, officials spending $4 million to rename the Triborough Bridge after Robert F. Kennedy. Bloomberg said the city is only spending about $100,000–the rest is being paid for by the state.

“While $4 million is nothing to sneeze at,” if the state’s deficit is $12 billion, “saving $4 million is not going to make much of a difference, although every little bit helps.”

Bloomberg went on to say that some of the signs with the bridge’s old name had to be replaced anyway.