Robert Megna, Andrew Cuomo’s budget director, just sent a statement accusing the Bloomberg administration of some fuzzy math in their complaints about Cuomo’s cuts to the city.
His point, primarily, is that the mayor is working under the assumption that the city would get budget increases that were built-in to the state’s budget every year, a practice that Cuomo has promised to end. Megna also notes that the percentage of Cuomo’s cut to city school aid is less than other school districts around the state. And while he acknowledges that the city is getting nothing in revenue-sharing, he does note (for what it’s worth) that the city’s didn’t get any revenue sharing aid last year, either.
Bloomberg has said that the Paterson adminstration promised the city revenue-sharing aid this year since they were cut last year.
We appreciate the Mayor’s support and look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and his Administration in a collaborative fashion to address this serious fiscal situation. The Mayor’s budget assumed a double-digit percentage increase in education aid even though the city received a year-to-year cut in last year’s budget. Given the fiscal situation facing the city, state, and nation, it was obviously not realistic to assume an increase in funding in the 2011-2012 budget.
“Governor Cuomo’s budget does not cut $1.4 billion in education aid to New York City. Rather, on a year to year basis, education aid to New York City is cut $579 million. In addition, the $579 million cut is approximately 2.7 percent of the city’s total school budget, which is lower than the statewide average cut of 2.9 percent of the average school budget. It is also worth noting that Mayor Bloomberg has up to $2 billion in reserves which could be used to offset the loss of this education funding. As a result, we believe teacher layoffs should not be necessary.
“As for revenue sharing, last year, the city received no money in revenue sharing and this year it will receive no money in revenue sharing, and therefore, there is no year-to-year reduction regarding this money.”
New York City’s Office of Management and Budget director Mark Page passed along the following statement in response to Megna’s statement above, which basically accuses the Cuomo administration of ignoring the question of mandate relief and of using their own fuzzy math when they calculate the city’s reserves.
“We had a fruitful discussion with the Governor and his team today about how to substantially reduce State mandates in order to help New York City manage the State’s $2.1 billion cut, down from its November budget plan. The State Budget Director’s suggestion, however, that New York City has $2 billion in reserves is flat-out wrong. The City is using $1.1 billion of resources generated this year to help close our multi-billion dollar Fiscal Year 2012 budget gap, which, even with these resources, totals $2.4 billion. If the Budget Director applied this rationale to the State budget, $3.5 billion in State closing funds balances from this year would obviate the need for any school aid cuts, statewide. Obviously, this is not reality.”