Bloomberg says pension reform plus budget equals ‘the best legislative session for the city in a decade’
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that the budget just agreed to by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature, and Cuomo's successful push to institute a cheaper new pension plan for public employees, "herald the best legislative session for the City in a decade."
The governor and legislative leaders just announced an agreement that keeps budget growth below 2 percent, and, among other things, allows New York City to assume custody of some juvenile offenders, enabling them to be closer to their families; increases education aid as promised; and pays for buses for after-school programs at city yeshivas instead of leaving the city to pay for half of it, as the Bloomberg administration had feared.
"Late-dismissal busing is included, but it is fully funded by the state," Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna confirmed in an email.
All of this is good news for the city, in substantive terms, and represents at least a momentary high point in the mayor's relationship with the governor, which was famously strained during the belabored negotiations surrounding the the Bloomberg administration's outer-borough taxi plan.
Here's a statement released by the mayor following the budget announcement:
“City taxpayers are winners today in Albany. The components of the budget agreement announced today, taken together with the landmark pension reform overhaul announced two weeks ago, herald the best legislative session for the City in a decade. Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver deserve our thanks for delivering an on-time budget and doing right by New York City.“Pension reform, which was part of the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal, was really part one of the budget and a central achievement of the process. It will save the City $21 billion over thirty years – which is $21 billion more we can spend to keep taxes down and provide vital services to New Yorkers. On top of that, the State’s takeover of Medicaid growth will save the City of New York nearly a billion dollars over the next five years.
“A planned increase in education funding has been expanded by the Legislature – delivering help our schools badly need. This is great news for our kids, but the State must continue working to achieve the unfulfilled promise of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement.”
“The budget resolution also includes important public policy victories for the City. For years, we have been pushing to overhaul the State’s juvenile justice system so that our young people can more easily transition back into their communities and productive lives. Agreement on the ‘Close to Home’ initiative is the culmination of that work. In addition, the budget agreement notably rejected efforts to slow down the implementation of a State law requiring cleaner fuel, which the City helped pass in 2010. And the Governor and the Legislature put parents and schoolchildren first when they rebuffed efforts to prohibit parents from seeing important information about teacher effectiveness.
“Finally, an almost unprecedented accomplishment: it appears that the budget includes no new unfunded mandates for New York City. We are hopeful this commitment to fiscal responsibility continues throughout the rest of the legislative session.
“Governor Cuomo has demonstrated bold leadership throughout this legislative session and budget process, both in setting forth meaningful public policy solutions to some of our toughest problems and in bringing people together to turn his proposals into reality. Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver have been outstanding partners for the Governor in truly making Albany work for the people – and for the City of New York.”