NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s final budget proposal would rescue government-subsidized child care services for more than 14,500 children in low-income families — an issue that some City Council members had indicated could be a sticking point in budget negotiations.
The mayor’s administration released details of his budget plan Thursday night, hours ahead of a formal announcement scheduled for Friday morning.
Planned budget cuts had placed 16,000 of the city’s 106,000 child care subsidies on the chopping block. Under the mayor’s proposal, the only children who would lose care next year are 1,350 who are aging out of the program. Another 10,000 would no longer get subsidies but instead would be placed in a cheaper city program that offers activities for students after school and during vacations. The plan would cost the city $40 million.
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After the independent mayor releases his final proposal Friday, he must negotiate with the City Council to pass a balanced budget for next fiscal year by June. All but six of the 51 City Council members had signed a letter urging the mayor to protect the child care subsidies, and some indicated it would be a priority in negotiations.
The mayor’s administration did not release any details on whether Friday’s anticipated $65 billion proposal would roll back any other previously announced budget cuts — including the loss of 6,166 public school teachers from the nation’s largest school system, which has 75,000 teachers. About 1,500 of those teachers are expected to retire or quit, and the rest would be laid off.
“While the city’s economy and fiscal situation continue to improve, Albany and Washington continue to face serious challenges, and their cuts are real and will have a serious impact on our budget,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said Thursday in a statement.
The mayor’s preliminary budget proposal released in February also called for the loss of another 2,000 city jobs, mostly through attrition, as well as cuts to city libraries, forced furloughs for some city workers and the closures of 20 fire companies. Since then, the administration has said further cuts will be necessary, and it has asked city agencies to propose spending reductions of 2 percent to 4 percent.
Bloomberg has said the cuts are unavoidable because of cutbacks in state and city funding. Since 2008, the administration says, officials have implemented cutbacks and savings measures worth $5.4 billion yearly. The administration says that if state and federal funding levels had remained steady over the last decade, the city would be getting an extra $6.1 billion next fiscal year.
While the city is contending with a tightening budget, its financial sector is improving. Projected business tax revenues of $5.75 billion included in the mayor’s budget proposal outpace the $5.41 billion the city received in the fiscal year that ended before the 2008 implosion of the banking industry and Wall Street.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)