Bloomberg Pledges No New Taxes In State Of The City Address

NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned in his “State of the City” address Wednesday that New York still faces deep budget problems and can no longer afford to pay generous pension benefits to government workers, but promised the city wouldn’t use taxes to close the budget gap.

In his speech on Staten Island, Bloomberg said reforms of the city’s pension system will be his administration’s number one priority in Albany in the weeks ahead.

The mayor said he wants to raise the retirement age to 65 for non-uniformed workers. The change, which would only apply to new hires, would save billions of dollars over the long term, Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg also pledged no new taxes in his address on Wednesday, but his promises did little to quell criticism over recent controversies, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports.

The mayor was hoping New York City voters would let bygones be bygones as far as the botched blizzard response, his controversial pick of schools chancellor, and other recent criticisms.

“Let me be clear – we will not raise taxes to balance the budget,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg spent the speech trying to showcase his managerial talents, saying he will deal with budget gaps and expected cuts from Albany without picking taxpayers’ pockets and by finding money in new and creative ways.

He said the city would ask state lawmakers to change the law to allow the city to negotiate pension benefits directly with the unions during collective bargaining. Right now, the state, not the city, sets pension benefits.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports on the State of the City address.

WCBS 880 Reporter Rich Lamb with highlights from the mayor’s State of the City address.

Even if the state does not act, Bloomberg said he is dedicated to forcing change in a system that will cost the city $7 billion this year. He vowed not to sign any contract with a salary increase unless it also included benefit concessions that save the city money, including making workers pay for part of their own health costs.

“City workers deserve a safe and secure retirement, but right now, they receive retirement benefits that are far more generous than those received by most workers in the private sector — and that provide for a much earlier retirement age,” Bloomberg said. “It would be great if we could continue to afford such generous benefits, but we can’t.”

Year-end bonuses would also be eliminated, saving about $200 million per year.

“City taxpayers just cannot be expected to give substantial holiday bonuses when so many of them are out of work or having their own wages frozen or cut,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor also wants the state to let the city collect is own income taxes. The state has charged New York City nearly $500 million in the last decade to do the city’s taxes.

“Let us manage ourselves,” the mayor said.

A number of officials, though, panned the mayor for not being publicly repentant about what’s gone on in the city over the last several months.

“I think this would have been an occasion to say, ‘look, we had a bad few weeks, we made some real mistakes here in the city, I’m not going to let that happen again,’” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said. “I think it would have helped if he had said that here.”

“This has been a rough stretch, and I’m not sure you cure that with beautiful rhetoric of a speech like this,” City Councilman James Oddo said. “It’s going to take hard work.”

In other parts of his speech, Bloomberg said spending cutbacks won’t stop New York from transforming itself into a city of the future.

He says he is still planning development projects and other improvements meant to maintain the city’s status as a world capital. One thing the city will be spending money on is a new counter-terrorism bureau at ground zero to provide added security when the 9/11 memorial opens in September.

Bloomberg said he doesn’t want to see the city repeat mistakes of past fiscal downturns, when vital city services broke down due to a lack of money.

“We won’t forget the single most important lesson of the 1970s: when you stop investing in the future, the future hits the road,” the mayor said. “Jobs, people, capital — they all leave. We didn’t allow that to happen after the attacks of 9/11 and I promise you we won’t allow it to happen now.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • AJK

    To Howard page. I believe we’ve hit common ground. In addition to my private sector work I have been a voluntary paramedic for many many years. I have been an EMT and paramedic instructor and have been fortunate enough to train some of the best city employees around, FDNY EMTs and Paramedics. I leave work, get woken up to respomd and do not get paid a cent for it. The night of the great snow, I helped a FDNY bus on the way to a cardiac arrest push a care out of the way. I know exactly what you are all about and certainly respect what you do for the people.

    Haqving said this, would you not agree that what a cop, fireman, or EMS worker gets paid in dollars or benefits MUST exceed that of other city workers who don’t make the difference that a Howard Sprague does. My hat is off to you. Stay safe always.

    • Howard Sprague

      AJK: I’m glad that we were able to ‘hash this out’. Thank you for your volunteer EMS service. Be safe.

  • Hot Blooded

    Why did you fools let him change the law to let him run for a third term, then vote him into a third term and now complain about him. You all made your beds now sleep in them

  • George H.W. Bush

    Read my lips – no new taxes

  • dade

    Mike Bloomberg the Mayor of Detroit??? we have no money?? how does he talk with a straight face.. NYC is the 12 largest economy in the world dont tell us there is no money..

    1 percent of New York get 50 percent of all income..PIGS…..Mike King PIg

  • AJK

    To Mr. Sprague. No complaints about working hard. I am treated in proportion to what i put in. No serf. What irritates private sector workers is how the city worker is given royal benefits that is ino way proprtional to their work accomplishments and contribution to a “bottom line”. I have to assume that you are a municipal worker. Try the private sector for a week – see if you can survive.

    • Howard Sprague

      I worked in the private sector as well as for the City of N.Y.. In the private sector the bottom line is figured by (for example) how many widgets are produced in a certain period of time. The bottom line in my profession is that we are responsible for saving lives and property. We are required to drop everything and be on the scene of any emergency within 3 – 4 minutes of the alarm. Once on scene, we are expected to render the correct assistance immediately (regardless of the situation). To achieve our goal, we have to remain in top physical condition, attend continuing education programs, constantly train to stay sharp on existing procedures as well as to become knowledgeable regarding new pertinent issues (equipment, hazardous materials, terrorism, construction techniques, emergency medical procedures, etc.). We are expected to place ourselves in harm’s way to protect the public. For this, we are paid wages that place us in the lower middle class of earners. Our benefits are good and our retirement system (similar to a 401K … the employee & the city contribute each pay day) is good. The ability to retire after 20 years of service is not a perk, however. The job requires us to take a tremendous amount of physical abuse, which causes a person’s body to eventually have difficulty keeping up with the demands of the job. I resent your painting all municipal workers with such a broad brush. We are extremely dedicated professionals who pay for our benefits with our health and often with our lives. I love what I do, my only complaint is that people who know nothing about us constantly bash us. You don’t have to praise us, but don’t attack us, we’re worth a lot more than what we are paid. I respect private sector workers, and although you claim to be fairly compensated, there are far too many who are not. In reply to your ‘challenge’, I did work in the private sector, it was a piece of cake compared to what I do. Try crawling down a pitch black, boiling hot hallway in a high rise fire carrying 100 lbs. of equipment – see if you can survive.

      • Oh really

        How many times is this really done? Does the beer still flow? One co-worker dated a pothead fireman who got 3/4 disability. Was never hurt. Hes at the gym everyday. Of course its not everyone but the FDNY has to straighten out its BS. Why not have a volunteer force. I can spare a day so no more preaching. Its done for the time and PENSION.

  • Jets Fan

    Cut the Medifraud and Welfare roles, and investigate the systematic abuse, which will allow NYC to save millions. How about another fraudulent payroll management system costing hundreds of millions and no one noticed?

  • AJK

    I am no great fan of Mayor Bloomberg — but when he is right, I will hand it to him. Take a trip to your local DMV office, City hospital or any city office and watch in dismay as nothing goes on before starting time and nothing after ending time. Completing a job; deadline or quality are words that are simply not in the typical city worker’s vocabulary. And why should it? They get the same union negotiated raise whether they do nothing or do their job. Myself and millions of other hard-working dedicated private sector workers are sick and tired of carrying the city workers on our back. 40 hour work-week? What is that? Right on, Mr. Mayor!

    • Howard Sprague

      So AJK … You’re saying that you enjoy the fact that many workers in the private sector are treated like ‘serfs’?

  • John

    How about you stop providing for low lives that live in the housing projects and cut their public assistance money, while they sell drugs and robbing people? I guess you need more balls for that, huh?

  • Howard Sprague

    As usual, Bloomberg is misleading the public … municipal pensions operate much like a 401K, the employees and the city make a contribution each payday. This money is then put into a pension fund where the administrators of the fund invest it. The funds are overseen by the NYC Comptroller. As a matter of fact, back during the NYC fiscal crisis in the 1970’s, the pension funds bailed out the city by loaning it money from the pension funds. Pensions are not breaking the city, mismanagement by Bloomberg and his incompetent appointees are doing it in the way of scandals such as “City Time”, sweetheart deals for Bloomberg’s corporate buddies and misspent funds for unimportant projects are the problem.

  • Josh

    If pensions are the problem, why has the mayor continued to give out genrous ones to every union over the past 9 years at the helm of our city?

  • Schmellma Arss

    Do you think mayor Snowberg will trim his cigar budget as well?

  • bush

    Mr. Bloomberg, it is time for you to return to your home planet of Nibiru.

  • chuck

    City workers are supposed to be the bare minimum in terms of salaries and pensions the private sector jobs should be much higher and many are..This mayor is basically taking wonder bread away from a ghetto person…WOw..

    Financial markets in NYC are 25 percent of GDP for the entire USA to say New York has no money is like saying there’s not enough water in the ocean its just absurd and bloomberg the king of finance knows it..

    How does he talk with a straight face is beyond me…What a clown

  • RC

    Its’ time for these generous pensions/bonuses to STOP! Private sector got rid of pensions many, many years ago. The City & State will have no choice but to do the same. It’s time for this to happen.

    • Howard Sprague

      As long as you realize that the private sector didn’t get rid of employee pensions because they couldn’t afford them, they got rid of the pensions so that the greedy CEO’s could take mega sized annual compensation for themselves and their friends / family who were hired due to nepotism.

  • Jets Fan

    Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. This form of capitalism is a failure. Typical of Bloombag to go after pensions, “Let them eat cake.”

    • nathan

      spoken like a typical Jets fan.

  • Joe

    Why didn’t this happen decades ago at the federal, state and local levels. While the people who pay their salaries lose their jobs, take pay cuts and are struggling to survive, government workers enjoy ridiculous compensation packages and can’t be fired. For decades, politicians have bought their votes by granting outrageous concessions to the unions and getting votes and kickbacks for their political campaigns in return. Politicians and unions conspired for decades to defraud taxpayers and now everyone else will be paying the price for the rest of OUR lives while they retire at 45 and live off of OUR money.

    • Howard Sprague

      Wow Joe, are you trying to mislead the readers or are you simply printing what you assume to be true? Here’s some facts: N.Y.C. Employees also pay taxes, so following your logic they pay their own salaries. What exactly constitutes a “ridiculous compensation package”, a living wage, fair benefits and a pension that the employee and the city both contribute to? You state that city employees “can’t be fired” this also is a fallacy. NYC Employees are punished by loss of vacation time, deduction of wages, unpaid suspension and termination. City employees are held to a much hire standard than many in the private sector. The only thing that we agree on is that many years ago greedy CEO’s declared war on their employee’s salaries, pensions, health benefits and personal leaves. I’m completely against corporate greed and find it criminal that employees in the private sector have no one to represent them when it comes to insuring fair treatment and compensation. That being said, it’s not a valid reason to penalize or attack NYC Municipal Employees.

  • Shane Devino

    give me a break! many of you complain about the snowstorm… yet many of you can’t get your lazy behind out the door and clean up the mess! the storm was caused by MOTHER-NATURE… OR IF YOU’RE RELIGIOUS… YOUR GOD!!! Go to church and blame your God for causing such a nasty storm.

    Shame on those who has nothing better to do than to COMPLAIN… COMPLAIN… COMPLAIN.

    What working class??? Many of you who loves to complain should look back and rethink what they did wrong in high school! Many of those idiots are now working at McDonalds, Starbucks, or just continuing the cycle of welfare, medicaid and food stamps.

    • Fed up!

      That is correct, mother nature had the plows parked on the side of the road and your god did not allow the city to call a snow emergency. People amaze me sometimes.
      Lets not cut the budget to the million tree movement but lets cut services. I guess that is why my property taxes just went up. I guess mother nature did that as well.

      Do us all a favor and go see a broadway show or something.

      • midi-man

        He is killing all of the working class people with the property taxes. Since he has been mayor it has went up by 20 %. I mean i want to pay my fair share but this is ridiculous.

        Reduce the property taxes Mayor and get our MTA refund back that the service did not run due to the great storm. Your buddy Jay should take the refund out of his own pocket.

        I lost money that day so should the MTA.

        Maybe you can reward the DOT and the MTA for there incompetence like you do all the time with a raise.

  • Gloria Guerriera

    “When city services broke down due to lack of money” in the seventies and like the December snow storm?

  • midi-man

    Yes,Yes and more Yes. he is really good at extending his arm, bending it at the elbow and patting him self on the back..

    He should cough up some of his money and help the working class in the city.
    I mean he clams to be such a philanthropist.

    Bloomberg show us..

  • Schmellma Arss

    The “Snow Job” mayor is at it again: blowing his own horn and stimulating his package.

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