Bloomberg Battles Budget Blues

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says because of the economic downturn, he will have to cut $1.5 billion from the city's budget. The city is facing declining tax revenues and a deficit of nearly $4 billion.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Smaller bonuses on Wall Street don't inspire much sympathy, but it is a big problem for New York City, which relies on Wall Street for tax revenue. Now Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced cuts of $1.5 billion from the city's existing budget. NPR's Margot Adler reports.

MARGOT ADLER: The city is facing declining tax revenues and a deficit of nearly $4 billion. The proposed $59 billion budget includes a decision not to hire and train a thousand police cadets this January and a cut of almost 500 jobs in the Department of Education, although none of them will be in the classroom. There will be some 3,000 city job cuts, most through attrition. The mayor also announced that dental health clinics that serve 17,000 poor children would be closed, leaving those families to rely on Medicaid. Bloomberg said it was crucial to spread the pain.

Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (New York): If you don't do it, then some agencies would get so hurt that they couldn't survive.

ADLER: Bloomberg said the cuts would save 500 million this year and $1 billion next. Some of these changes need city council approval. The state legislature needs to approve others. When asked by a reporter...

Unidentified Reporter: What do you anticipate in, you know, in the next weeks or two...

Mayor BLOOMBERG: A lively discussion.

ADLER: The mayor has had a 70 percent approval rating, but he has come under criticism for overturning the city's term limits law so he can run for a third term. This announcement may increase his difficulties. Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

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