NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his preliminary 2014 budget plan on Tuesday.
The proposal, which totals just over $70 billion, is for the fiscal year that starts on July 1. It is also the mayor’s final budget plan before he leaves office and includes the elimination of 2,000 teaching positions, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.
Bloomberg the plan does not include a tax increase due in part to the fact that the city’s economy is recovering.
“Continued growth in our diversified economy is fueling our trend. That helps our bottom line, so does the persistence of historically low interest rates, which continue to reduce our borrowing costs and that allow us to save money by re-financing old debt at current low interest rates,” Bloomberg said.
But there are some dark clouds gathering over city finances, including the potential loss of a billion dollars in state aid because the city and teachers’ union couldn’t agree on a teacher evaluation plan, CBS 2′s Aiello reported.
“Compromise is necessary on some things. I think the mayor needs to accept that father doesn’t always know best. There’s a billion dollars of impact largely on our kids in both class size and after-school programs,” said City Councilman Lewis Fidler.
Bloomberg also said the city had increased its investment in children.
“Total city investment in the operations of public schools will be $13.9 billion in fiscal year 2014 and that is more than $8 billion more than the city committed to public schools when we took office,” Bloomberg said.
In his remarks, Bloomberg also said that there are now more private sector jobs in the five boroughs today than there were before the recession of 2008.
“Since the end of the recession, as a matter of fact, private sector jobs have grown by 6.9 percent compared with a national growth rate of 3.9 percent,” he said.
The mayor also had to slash millions in revenue from the sale of taxi medallions — delayed by legal challenges.
“We have been very responsible,”Bloomberg said.
But a budget watcher at the Manhattan Institute had a different view of the Bloomberg years.
“Spending has gone up about 56 percent above inflation, city spending has risen by nearly $20 billion above inflation,” said Nicole Gelinas. “The mayor’s legacy in terms of the budget is that spending could have been worse, but it’s really hard to see how.”
The City Council is virtually certain to restore funding for 20 firehouses the mayor proposed closing. More challenging will be finding money to save 2,500 teaching positions.
The mayor’s plan usually starts months of negotiations among policymakers, elected officials and advocates. Then the City Council approves a budget.
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