John Liu Issues Feisty Response to Bloomberg’s Economy Speech

John Liu. (Photo: Getty)

John Liu. (Photo: Getty)

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio took some shots at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s speech this morning, but rival mayoral contender John Liu just took today’s Bloomberg criticism to an even higher level in a statement of his own.

“An ‘unprecedented opportunity’?” Mr. Liu asked of Mr. Bloomberg’s suggestion the next mayor use labor negotiations to keep pension and healthcare costs down. “That’s a rather diplomatic way to describe what hundreds of thousands of workers would actually call ‘dine-and-dash.”

Snarking on Mr. Bloomberg’s previous claim that the city was “lucky” for the infamous CityTime scandal due to the resulting financial settlement, Mr. Liu added, “Calling this an ‘unprecedented opportunity’ would be the same as saying the city was somehow ‘lucky’ to be defrauded by CityTime. Oh wait, he already did say that.”

Mr. Liu, the city’s comptroller, further disputed Mr. Bloomberg’s central point about the city potentially being on the road to Detroit-like bankruptcy unless the next mayor is fiscally prudent.

“New York is not Detroit. Unlike many other cities across the country including Detroit, New York City has … enviable problems: growing population, growing demand, a diversified economic base,” he said.

Not every Gracie Mansion hopeful was down on Mr. Bloomberg’s speech, however. GOP contender Joe Lhota lauded it, calling Mr. Bloomberg’s warnings “right” and said the city “must be disciplined and make tough fiscal choices.”

Read Mr. Liu’s statement in its entirety below:

“An ‘unprecedented opportunity’? That’s a rather diplomatic way to describe what hundreds of thousands of workers would actually call ‘dine-and-dash’. Calling this an ‘unprecedented opportunity’ would be the same as saying the city was somehow ‘lucky’ to be defrauded by CityTime.  Oh wait, he already did say that.

“Well of course Mayor Bloomberg has to spin a silver hairline in what has been a gross abdication of responsibility as CEO of the City of New York.  But let’s be real here.  Mayor Bloomberg is leaving a big fat bill to create the illusion of a balanced budget in the black, when in reality, he is leaving us deep in the red.   And that is one big fat mess that will be one of my top priorities as Mayor to clean up and make whole.

“The most basic responsibility of any good manager — whether it be of a corporation, a business, or a municipality — is to take care of personnel costs.  But outstanding contracts for a 300,000-member workforce and failing to deliver on promised retroactive pay raises — which Mayor Bloomberg himself set a precedent of delivering on during his first two terms — is simply negligent. So of course Mayor Bloomberg would have to say that, even as the very financial guru that the City so desperately needed for a third term that it warranted a bombastic subversion of the peoples’ will.

“New York is not Detroit. Unlike many other cities across the country including Detroit, New York City has an enviable problems: growing population, growing demand, a diversified economic base.  We are, however, at a critical junction to straighten out the priorities from years of skewed power and to keep New York City globally competitive.  This will require the next few years to be a period of keeping up with demand. We will do just that by creating jobs, housing and opportunities, from my comprehensive proposals including Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning, raising the Minimum Wage to $11.50, collecting more revenues from corporations and individuals making over $500, and reducing taxes for small businesses and individuals making under $500k.”