Liu ‘Skeptical’ on Bloomberg’s Play to Limit Teacher Raises

Budget season in City Hall is getting into full swing, as a set of finance hearings on the mayor’s proposed budget finish up today in the City Council, which must pass a budget by the end of the month.

In prepared testimony, City Comptroller John Liu highlighted a set of risks that could increase deficits by hundreds of millions in coming years. Topping that list is a concern that the Bloomberg administration will not get the expected savings from teachers in a contract for future years. While the teachers are currently without a contract, the other public sector unions received annual raises of 4 percent when they negotiated their contracts, which were mostly awarded before the economy fell apart. The teachers had been expecting the same, but the administration’s budget called for more modest 2 percent raises–a prediction Mr. Liu found optimistic. (The mayor said recently he intended to suspend teacher raises for the year to avert layoffs; the union’s contract expired last fall.)

From Liu’s report on the budget:

The Comptroller is skeptical that the current collective bargaining negotiation with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) will result in two consecutive 2.0 percent raises

Liu also accused the city of habitually underestimating overtime costs, saying in testimony that since 2004, “the City has spent an average of $273 million per year more on overtime costs than was in the adopted budget.”