The city’s professor-in-chief delivered his final budget speech at City Hall today and made it clear that he’s rather happy with the job he’s done balancing the city’s books as he passes the baton.
“The news today is I think, reasonably good–as good as it’s been in a long time,” Mr. Bloomberg told reporters of the $69.8 billion plan. “The city is doing well. All the statistics: crime and school performance and tourists and number of jobs, all of these thing are going in the right direction.”
Given his budget-balancing prowess, Mr. Bloomberg offered his advice and warned voters that any candidate promising the city’s labor unions retroactive pay raises was putting the city’s fiscal footing at risk.
All of the city’s municipal unions are currently working on expired contracts as they wait for what they hope will be a more sympathetic administration to win.
“That’s just not possible,” Mr. Bloomberg said of the raises, warning that–while they might not bankrupt the city–taxes would have to be raised “dramatically” to compensate.
He also warned voters that budget priorities must be set.
“A chicken in every pot is just not realistic,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
To help extend his legacy, the mayor said Thursday that he intends to propose a new round of budget cuts days before he leaves office, setting spending priorities on a budget that will begin after he’s gone.
“We will be turning over a balanced budget to the next mayor and we’re already starting to address the first budget he or she will have to prepare,” said the mayor, who said the next mayor faces a projected $2.2-bllion gap.
“Hopefully the next administration will just have to implement it, but the work will be all done for them,” he said. “We don’t want the next administration to have any more difficulty in doing that than reality necessitates and we’ll do everything we can to prepare so that they have less pain, and we’ll all be the beneficiaries of that.”