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As Protesters Gear Up, Mayor Bloomberg Says He's Still Not Sure How Many NYC Layoffs In Works

By: Celeste Katz, Daily Politics


As protesters gear up for a May 12 day of action, Mayor Bloomberg is saying he's not sure whether City Hall will be able to cut a deal with the teachers union to avert thousands of layoffs.

bloomberg protest.jpgI noted in my April 25 column for our print editions that "Organizers are billing the rally as "The Day We Made Wall Street Stand Still." Participants include community groups and unions such as the United Federation of Teachers and 1199/SEIU." The idea is that Bloomberg should avoid layoffs and social service cuts by making Wall Street pay "its share" instead of giving banks corporate "giveaways." The protests are already rolling, having kicked off with a demonstration outside the Hilton, where House Speaker John Boehner spoke yesterday.

According to our Erin Einhorn, the mayor was asked today, "How confident are you that you’ll be able to reach some sort of deal with the teachers union and avert [layoffs]?"

Bloomberg responded: "I have absolutely no idea whether we’ll reach an agreement or not. I can tell you that we had raised teacher spending in ten years 105% on the department of education and we’ve raised it on all other agencies an average of 28% with an inflation rate of 33%. Our pension system costs have gone up 515%, some number like that. And the city doesn’t have enough money and with the state and federal cutbacks we don’t have any choice. We have to reduce our expenses. We’re certainly happy to talk with everybody and we are talking with everybody. How it will turn out, I don’t know but anybody that thinks we can continue to spend this – we don’t have the money. We had a reserve of roughly $6 billlion. We’ve used up four of it with this budget alone. We have to have a reserve going into next year or there’s noways we could possibly balance our budget next year and the governor’s already said we’re going to get $500 million less in state education aide next year and we know that thanks to mandates, our costs with education is going to go up another $500 million – that and the step functions built into the contract where the teachers get an average of, I think it’s a 3.5% raise every year, regardless of the new contract so, you know, this is just another $1 billion added on to the $5 billion that we think we have. The numbers are pretty clear and we’ve got to do something about it.”