Mayor Bloomberg headed to Albany to criticize Governor Spitzer's new budget, accusing him of going beyond nickel and diming the city. Spitzer has proposed cutting over $300 million in municipal aid to the city, and while it doesn't sound like a lot in a time of multi-billion dollar surplus, here's an explanation of the municipal aid program from the NY Times:
Mr. Bloomberg saved his strongest criticism for Mr. Spitzer’s plan to eliminate the city’s share of a state program called Aid and Incentives to Municipalities, which provides the city with $327.9 million in unrestricted aid each year...The city has received the aid since 1946 and sees it as particularly valuable because it is steady from year to year — unlike property tax receipts, the city’s main source of revenue.
Because the aid to municipalities is disbursed toward the end of each calendar year, for the city fiscal year that ended the previous June 30, the reduction would amount to a one-time hit of about $660 million, the mayor said — $327.9 million for the current fiscal year and $327.9 million for the next.
.Aha! The Mayor pointed out that the $660 million "is roughly equivalent to the combined annual budgets of the City's Department of Parks and Recreation, Department for the Aging and Department of Juvenile Justice, all put together." Bloomberg questioned that once the aid is gone, there's no guarantee it'll ever come back.
The Mayor repeated a refrain we happen to like: That the city contributes $11 billion more to the state than it receives back. In his remarks, Bloomberg said to the State finance committee, "I ask you to bear in mind that New York City is the economic engine of the entire Empire State. We all have a strong interest in keeping that engine running smoothly."
Governor Spitzer said the city is still coming out better with his budget, but we'll side with the Mayor on this one. You can read the Mayor's entire testimony here. And, per the Sun, Mayor Bloomberg also joked (we think), "Eliot lives about three doors from where I live, so I can always have somebody give him a parking ticket if he doesn't treat us well."
Photograph of Mayor Bloomberg greeting NY Senate finance committee chair Owen Johnson in Albany yesterday by Tim Roske/AP