When Mayor Mike Bloomberg released his FY 2012 budget, the presentation was loaded with references to the ways that Andrew Cuomo was sticking it to the city.
At one point, he said: “We are not immune to the realities in Albany and Washington. And the reality is, both places are keeping more of our tax dollars to close their own budget deficits. I am sympathetic to their need for budget cuts, but actions taken to close their deficits came without changing the burdens they impose on City taxpayers.”
One section of the news release announcing his budget was even subtitled, “State Budget Impact,” and detailed how Albany was docking the city $6.8 billion.
Now that the layoffs are looming, Bloomberg and his aides are continuing to point the spotlight firmly at Albany.
Earlier this week, we pointed out a Twitter battle that was ongoing between Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Bloomberg communications chief Howard Wolfson in which Wolfson told de Blasio that he was a little late to complain about teacher layoffs.
“you are our Advocate,” Wolfson wrote “Needed your advocacy in Albany at budget time – perhaps your advocacy then could have helped averted cuts.”
“wish you had been this vocal when state cut us 1b in Ed funds,” he wrote at another point.
And yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg was asked about the May 12 protests, which brought tens of thousands of people to Wall Street to protest his education cuts and to call for the city to close tax loopholes for developers and financial firms.
Responded the mayor, “Those groups endorsed [Cuomo.] I don’t understand what they were thinking if they endorsed him and they don’t like his policies…Rather than being downtown protesting it might have been more useful if they were up in Albany with our administration protesting the $6 billion in cutbacks at the state level that really hurt this city.”
He added, “If they thought we should have more money, why don’t they get to Albany and fight for it. We have been up there and we haven’t really had a lot of help.”
This is pretty savvy message from the mayor, since it essentially changes the subject. Critics of his budget are wondering why he won’t close loopholes, raise taxes on the wealthy, or lay-off high priced consultants instead of public workers. And for a response, the mayor makes a statement which is undoubtedly true: Albany trimmed our budget.
Michael Kink, the leader of the May 12 protests, weighs in:
“If the Mayor missed the dozens of rallies, sit-ins, and lobby days that coalition members carried out in Albany it must be because he was the one missing in action. While we were fighting to save our communities and our schools, Mayor Bloomberg was more pre-occupied with fighting over which teachers to lay off.
“Instead of defending working families, our Mayor lobbied for billions in tax cuts for the wealthy and Wall Street – money that we desperately needed to keep basic services going. Mayor Bloomberg can’t have it both ways. Today’s budget crisis is his creation and New Yorkers are right to put the blame on his shoulders.”