NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new budget proposal has no new taxes but it comes with a stern warning for his successor — raise union salaries at your peril. If you do, tax rates would skyrocket.
How much? CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer was there as the mayor made his jaw-dropping prediction.
How does 50 percent grab you?
That’s how much Mayor Bloomberg predicted taxes would have to go up if any of the labor-friendly mayoral wannabes win and grant wage hikes to city workers.
“A tax increase of a quarter to 50 percent might do it, but even then it might not. It is … the numbers are staggering,” Bloomberg said.
Knowing that many labor leaders have refused to negotiate new contracts in the hope that a new mayor would be friendlier, the man some call “El Bloombito” said wage hikes should be finito.
“There is no practical ways to pay our workforce given the current environment, current tax structure, current other obligations we have more than what we have been doing, with the possible exception of dramatically raising taxes,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor’s words provoked a swift reaction from labor. Teachers’ union president Michael Mulgrew issued a statement saying: “Why would anyone believe these numbers? Bloomberg’s anti-worker rhetoric [has] left the next administration in a very difficult position. While our sympathy goes out to the next mayor, we will still be glad to be rid of this guy once and for all.”
And if the unions didn’t like the mayor’s wage hike comments they also won’t like his next proposal — forcing union workers to pay part of the health care costs.
“Unless we do something those expenses will bankrupt us,” Bloomberg said.
City Council Finance Chair Domenic Recchia seemed uncomfortable with the proposal.
“As a concept it’s a negotiation; it’s part of the bigger picture. You just can’t take one issue; it’s part of how much they’re going to get paid,” the Democrat from Brooklyn said.
City Council officials have said they’d like to see more cops and find a way to save 20 fire companies. They’ll have until the end of June to figure out a way to do it.
The council will begin hearings on the mayor’s budget next week.
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