David Paterson is coming under fire from 1199 SEIU and Greater New York Hospital Association over his proposed cuts to health care.
But the “doomsday” budget proposed by Michael Bloomberg on Friday has yet to prompt a similar backlash–at least, not one in the form of an expensive advertising campaign–from labor and affected interest groups.
One labor leader said that unions are in talks about how to respond to Bloomberg’s budget, which includes heavy reductions in the municipal workforce and reductions for senior centers and social-services programs. Although it’s an election year in the city – which would normally make lawmakers that much more susceptible to the prospect of negative ad campaigns – that’s not necessarily something that applies to Bloomberg.
“People recognize that no matter how much money you spend, the mayor has resources to spend many more times that,” said this labor leader.
Political consultant George Arzt, who was the New York Post City Hall bureau chief during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, said, “Mike Bloomberg is much stronger than Abe Beame.”
Arzt said Bloomberg has “the confidence of the bankers and the financial people. Abe Beame did not. Nobody thought that Abe Beame knew what he was doing.”
There’s also a realization among labor advocates that Bloomberg can only do so much to mitigate the city’s cutbacks without help from Albany. “The city’s budget crisis is part and parcel of the state’s,” said a labor-allied operative. “So the unions that still have fight left in them will focus their fire on Paterson.”
“If Obama bails us out as promised, and Paterson restores cuts to New York City, Bloomberg’s budget suddenly isn’t so bad,” this operative said.