Critics have long accused City Council Speaker and mayoral contender Christine Quinn of using the city budget to reward friends and punish those who’ve crossed her. But, perhaps in light of increased scrutiny and criticism from her rivals, this year’s allocations track closely with last year’s. Still, being a Quinn ally appears to have some definite perks.
An analysis of the 2014 budget numbers, crunched by the Citizens Union Foundation, finds that members who endorsed Ms. Quinn for mayor were especially likely to receive large allocations for their districts–receiving, in essence, the largest slices of the $594 million pie.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has long been accused of using the Council’s budget as a tool to punish those who cross her and keep members in line. But, as member item allocations have come under increased scrutiny in light of the mayor’s race, Ms. Quinn appears to have changed course.
Sources familiar with the camps of three of Ms. Quinn’s most vocal critics in recent months told Politicker Tuesday that their member allocations–which fund local community non-profits, including senior centers and after-school programs–will either remain steady or tick up slightly, according to preliminary numbers shared with their offices this week.
A chicken in every pot
For one, it marked the end of an era, his last governing document over the finances of the city he’s run for the past 12 years. For the other, it marked the start of a new chapter, her chance to celebrate the early budget she hopes to inherit come January.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his wannabe successor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, unveiled the duo’s final budget deal Sunday evening, surrounded by fellow council members in the grand rotunda of City Hall.
The city’s professor-in-chief delivered his final budget speech at City Hall today and made it clear that he’s rather happy with the job he’s done balancing the city’s books as he passes the baton.
“The news today is I think, reasonably good–as good as it’s been in a long time,” Mr. Bloomberg told reporters of Read More
Let's Make a Deal
A group of sixth graders from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa has turned to the internet to save their school trip to the White House. The children were scheduled to tour the White House on March 16, but their visit was cancelled yesterday along with all other tours of the presidential residence due to “staffing reductions” caused by the so-called “sequester” budget cuts that took effect last Friday after lawmakers failed to make a deficit reduction deal. In an effort to muster support and salvage their trip, the school posted a brief video on Facebook featuring a plea from the children.
“The White House is our house, please let us visit!” the sixth graders say in the clip.
Three members of New York City’s congressional delegation have signed on to a letter vowing not to back any White House bargain to avoid the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts known as the sequester that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Both parties have been at an impasse over the cuts with Democrats favoring debt reduction through tax increases and Republicans wanting spending cuts. President Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed a desire to make a deal ahead of the March 1 deadline that includes both tax increases and proposals to reduce the costs of social programs. Now, Congressmen Jerry Nadler, Jose Serrano and Nydia Velazquez have all signed the pledge promising not to back any deal including the compromises being called for by the White House.
“Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the great bedrocks of our middle class society and, together, constitute an essential safety net for millions of Americans,” Mr. Nadler said. “I will fight like hell against any deficit plan that cuts these programs or fails to address our immediate jobs problem. It is unconscionable for Republicans to ask those who can least afford it – seniors, kids, our most vulnerable families – to sacrifice even more and shoulder a disproportionate burden. I do not support anydeal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.”
Bloom and Doom
New York City Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was quite pleased with President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, but she’s not optimistic about Congress heeding the president’s call to to avoid the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts known as the “sequester” that are scheduled to go into effect March 1.
“I love his speech he came out swinging,” Ms. Maloney told Politicker about the president’s speech last night.
Though he still has over 11 months left in office, term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented the final budget of his tenure today. In the process, Mr. Bloomberg drew some parting shots from the leading Democratic mayoral candidates hoping to succeed him.
Earlier today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his last preliminary budget briefing and, well, the term-limited mayor reminisced a little about his last year in elected office.
“You know, there’s almost nothing that I have done, including–” Mr. Bloomberg began after a reporter asked if he was going to miss preliminary budget announcements, pivoting to change his thought. “Yesterday, somebody said to me, ‘Aren’t you glad that’s the last time you’re going to have to testify in Albany?’ No, I thought that was a unique opportunity to represent the city.”
Mr. Bloomberg then looked more broadly at his record, as well as the country, and reflected on the honor of public service.
Congressman Charlie Rangel sat down with a small group of reporters yesterday for a wide-ranging discussion at his office. One of the main topics was the brewing battle over the debt ceiling and Politicker asked the congressman for his take on the idea President Barack Obama can avoid a fight with congressional Republicans who won’t raise the debt cap by having the Treasury Department mint a $1 trillion coin.
“I’m working on the design, one for the president and one for me,” Mr. Rangel said with a smile.
We wondered whether that meant he wanted to see his portrait depicted on the coin.
“No, I want one of the coins,” the congressman responded as the assembled reporters laughed. “The president gets one, he puts it in the treasury. I get one, I keep it. Makes sense to me.”
Earlier in the conversation, Mr. Rangel criticized Republicans who have said they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts because he said they are solely focused on slashing “so-called entitlements” that are social programs for “vulnerable” portions of the population.