To do this, the mayor proposes a hike in some fines and fees and some cuts across city agencies.
It is this last bit that has those who hope to take the mayor’s job incensed.
“I am disappointed the Mayor put forth a budget proposal that hurts New York’s children and makes it harder for families to work,” said Bill de Blasio, public advocate and a likely 2013 mayoral contender.
In particular, Mr. de Blasio blasted Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to cut public child care programs.
“Everyone from President Obama on down has emphasized early childhood programs are critical, and yet the Mayor is refusing to invest the necessary resources in Head Start, Universal Pre-Kindergarten, and child care,” Mr. de Blasio added. “The consequences of the Mayor’s proposal are striking: with so many of our schools still struggling, nearly 16,000 of New York’s youngest and most vulnerable would be forced to go without the preparation they need to enter school ready to succeed. And, with New York City still down 180,000 jobs since the recession started, we cannot force more families to choose between their jobs and their children. The dollars and cents of our city budget must reflect the priorities, the values and the reality of working people. This fight is about championing the next generation, helping parents work and investing in a vibrant five-borough economy of the future – it is a fight we cannot afford to lose.”
Scott Stringer echoed this criticism, while also calling attention to firehouse closings.
“The mayor should be commended for delivering a balanced budget that avoids layoffs, but I must express my serious concerns about cuts to day-care slots, fire stations and libraries both in the borough I represent and citywide. As the budget dance once again begins, let’s change the tune and have an honest conversation about available resources and policy priorities.”
Council Speaker Christine Quinn–who now must restore most of the cuts the mayor proposed–took a more measured tone, praising the “prudent choices we’ve made over the last several years” that have allowed the city to avoid the tax increases and deep spending cuts.
“However, there remain a number of troubling elements in today’s budget proposal,” Ms. Quinn added. “The Council is concerned that the proposed budget would again result in the closure of 20 fire houses, along with major cuts to public libraries and cultural institutions, to after-school programs, and to the Chief Medical Examiner’s crime fighting resources, among other areas. As we have said before, we are fully committed to protecting the essential services that New Yorkers depend on. Another point of concern is the Administration’s proposed use of fees and fines as revenue-raising tools. This is not their intended purpose and we shouldn’t be harassing business and property owners with frivolous violations to bring in more revenue.
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