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City Hall has quietly ordered agencies to draw up plans to trim expenses over the next eighteen months as Mayor Bill de Blasio confronts a $3.8 billion deficit and dimming hopes that federal aid will close the gap.
“We’re turning to all city agencies and saying you’re going to have to find more savings,” de Blasio told reporters during his morning press conference Tuesday. “What has been put out there initially is simply to get ideas and proposals back from agencies. It’s not the final plan by any stretch.”
De Blasio’s Office of Management and Budget has asked most city agencies to draw up plans to trim their spending over the next six months by 1 percent — and then to come up with additional cuts of 2.5 percent for the next budget cycle, which takes effect in July.
The Police and Corrections departments must dig a bit deeper and come up with 3 percent spending reductions for the 2022 budget, while the Department of Education is only asked for 2.25 percent reduction.
The Big Apple’s public hospital system and scandal-scarred Housing Authority have been exempted from the budget reductions.
Politico New York first reported the order from OMB on Tuesday.
The city’s finances were turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused revenues from tourism and other key industries to flat line.
Hizzoner has been banking on Democrats in Washington mustering the votes to pass a significant aid package for city and state governments during the COVID-19 crisis, but those efforts have met fierce resistance from Republican lawmakers who run the U.S. Senate.
In the interim, he threatened municipal unions with as many as 22,000 layoffs as he struck deals to delay more than $700 million in retroactive pay and other labor expenses by a year — moving them onto the 2022 budget, arguing the shift counts as “savings.”
Budget watchdogs and good government groups slammed those claims, saying that de Blasio’s inability to strike deals with labor unions that cut costs instead of shifting them would worsen New York’s financial headache if the feds did not come through with a rescue.
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