Michael Bloomberg contested the claim from Andrew Cuomo’s budget office that New York City can weather cuts in state education funding by drawing on the city’s pool of reserve funds at a press conference this morning.
“The governor’s office may be on expert on the governor’s office; the governor’s office is not an expert on the city” Bloomberg said. “I think we would have a little more credibility in speaking about what we can afford.”
In a budget speech on Thursday, Bloomberg said he was anticipating laying off more than 4,000 teachers absent any sort of relief from Albany. The govenor’s office maintains that districts can avoid firing teachers, despite losing a cumulative $1.5 billion, by being more efficient with their money. The governor has also said New York has enough money set aside to cover the shortfall, an argument seemingly bolstered by the city’s recent announcement that it had reaped $2 billion more than expected in tax revenue.
But Bloomberg responded that even with the extra $2 billion helping to cover reductions in the state budget, the city still had a deficit of roughly $600 million to close. He said that the city’s reserves had to be protected as insurance against future costs like funding health benefits.
“[If] we don’t get back $800 million from the federal government and another billion dollars from Albany for education, and we have to make that up again next year, we literally have no resources,” Bloomberg said. “We would have to use up all of that fund and we just can’t do that.”