Bloomberg: New York Could Cut 20,000 Jobs

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city's financial picture is so dire that it may need to lay off 20,000 workers. The city faces a $4 billion deficit for next year.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is All Things Considered from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled his preliminary budget for next year. And unless something changes, Bloomberg predicts, New Yorkers will pay more in taxes, and more than 20,000 city employees could lose their jobs. Here's NPR's Robert Smith.

ROBERT SMITH: There is a classic strategy to presenting a proposed city budget. You have to make it realistic enough to actually implement but frightening enough so that hopefully someone, somewhere will come to your rescue. Mayor Bloomberg has the scary part down.

Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (New York City): New York City, we're forecasting 300,000 job losses. It is very worrisome. If you have these number of jobs lost, revenues go down.

SMITH: Luckily, the city saw it coming and last fall cut $2 billion from its budget. Now comes the really hard part, Bloomberg has to make up $4 billion more in next year's budget.

Mayor BLOOMBERG: You can only get so much blood out of a stone and after that, this is a headcount thing.

SMITH: Which of course is a polite way of saying layoffs. Mayor Bloomberg painted the picture of New York City in the year 2010 - a smaller police force, fewer sanitation workers picking up more garbage on every route, fire engines with four men instead of five. And as for the classrooms - well, the state of New York will cut hundreds of millions of dollars in school funding for New York City and Bloomberg says, he has little choice on how to make that up.

Mayor BLOOMBERG: What does the $770 million translate to? Well, it translates to roughly 14,000 teachers.

SMITH: Holding a budget gun to the head of city teachers has a way of getting people's attention, and Bloomberg did have some ransom demands. The Federal government or the state could step up and provide more money. City unions could make concessions on health care and pensions, and he could raise the city sales tax by a quarter of a percent. But the future of those 14,000 teachers and the other city workers, Bloomberg said, is essentially out of his hands.

Mayor BLOOMBERG: Nobody knows what the economy is going to do, what the state is going to do or the Federal government is going to do.

SMITH: At least New Yorkers can't say they weren't warned. Robert Smith, NPR News New York.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.