New York Daily News


Bloomy & Quinn seal $68.5B budget deal

- BY REUVEN BLAU and ERIN DURKIN rblau@nydailynew­

MAYOR BLOOMBERG and City Council leaders reached a deal Monday on a $68.5 billion budget that won’t hike taxes and staved off threatened cuts to firehouses and child-care programs.

Using funds set aside over previous years and savings from several earlier rounds of belttighte­ning, the blueprint held the line within the NYPD and FDNY ranks while increasing the number of teachers by about 1,000 and keeping overall education spending the same.

Some 42,000 child-care and after-school program slots that could have been cut were saved, as were 20 fire companies that were on the chopping block.

“We’re able to achieve these goals without asking taxpayers to stretch their own budgets further,” Bloomberg said. He warned, however, that the city faces “a significan­t challenge” in the following fiscal year — a projected budget gap of $2.5 billion.

The deal, expected to be approved by the Council this week, came in advance of a July 1 budget deadline for fiscal year 2013 2013.

A balanced budget was also possible because of the gradual improvemen­t of the city economy, and efforts to make the city’s coffers less dependent on Wall Street. Revenues from the tech, tourism and film and television sectors were up.

But some Council members were worried about the future.

“We kicked the can of major budget woes down the road,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens). “We used up our surplus and pinned our hopes on increased tax revenue. We’re presuming that the econo- my will recover this year. But what h t if it d doesn’t?” ’t?”

The fiscal plan adds $150 million for child-care and afterschoo­l funding — boosting the programs’ budgets by $75 million over last year’s totals. The Council will directly fund many child-care programs that were rejected for contracts under a new city system that favors needy neighborho­ods.

“We want to make sure that New Yorkers who need child care get child care,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn, noting many recipients live in housing projects in affluent neighborho­ods.

Advocates who lobbied Counc cil members as they negotiated th the budget cheered the deal.

“The loss of these services would have been devastatin­g,” said Stephanie Gendell of the Citizens’ Committee for Children.

The jobs of 400 school aides who were threatened with layoffs will be spared after their union agreed to cut worker hours h by a half-hour per day.

The budget plan relies on $635 $ million in revenue from the th expected sale of new yellow taxi t medallions — down from an earlier estimate of $1 billion because a judge’s ruling stalled implementa­tion of the outerborou­gh taxi plan.

Bloomberg said the city now expects to collect a total of $1.46 billion over three years from those medallion sales — but will face a massive budget gap if courts ultimately block the plan.

“It would put an enormous hole in the budget and we’d have to close that hole,” he said.

City officials also came up with extra cash from money saved on debt payments because of lower interest rates, and higher collection­s of fees and permit money.

 ?? Photo by Jeanne Noonan ?? Mayor Bloomberg
and City Council Speaker Christine
Quinn agree on massive $68.5 billion budget Monday at City Hall that won’t raise taxes.
Photo by Jeanne Noonan Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn agree on massive $68.5 billion budget Monday at City Hall that won’t raise taxes.

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