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City in Big Budget Hole, Major Job Cuts Projected

Mayor Bill de Blasio, May 6, 2020. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

May 6, 2020 By Christian Murray

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he may be forced to cut frontline workers and other municipal employees if the federal government does not provide funding.

He said that New York City is in a big financial hole and may lack the funds to pay people such as health care workers, first responders and educators. The city is projected to lose $7.4 billion in tax revenue through June 30, 2021, according to the mayor’s executive budget released last month.

“How are we gong to support these people who we need if we don’t have any money,” the Mayor told CNN this morning. “I’ve lost $7.4 billion already and my economy can’t come back until I get that stimulus and get back to normal and provide those basic services,” he told CNN.

His cry for federal help comes just a day after Governor Andrew Cuomo also called on Washington to provide funding for hard hit regions. Cuomo, upset by Republican reticence to provide funding for state and local governments, pointed out that New York State had always provided the federal government with a lot more revenue than what was spent here.

De Blasio’s comments also follow the dark outlook presented by City Comptroller Scott Stringer Tuesday.

Stringer said that the city faces a budget gap totaling $8.7 billion over the remainder of this fiscal year and the next—which ends June 30, 2021.

Stringer also noted that one of in five working New Yorkers will be out of a job by the end of June—and that the unemployment rate will reach 22 percent by the end of the quarter, the highest in the city’s postwar history. He said that the rate will be at about 12 percent at the end of the year.

“There’s going to be a lot of pain and heartache,” Stringer said yesterday.

Stringer said that New York City will lose 900,000 jobs by June 30, 2020 and a number of industries will be hit hard.

He said the hotel accommodation and food services industry will lose 184,300 jobs, followed by 178,000 in retail industry.

He said that the industries that require public interaction are being hardest hit.

The workers in these sectors are already among the most vulnerable and economically insecure,” Stringer said.

Stringer questioned de Blasio’s handling of the $8.7 billion budget hole. He said the mayor was drawing on reserves and making short term, superficial cuts.

He said that the cuts need to be deeper, suggesting each city agency needs to cut back its budget by 4 percent.

“It’s time to get serious,” Stringer said, noting that his office is cutting its budget back by 4 percent.

“We need to do this now to protect our social safety net,” he said, point to the need for sustainable cuts. “We’ve got to do this now to protect programs that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

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