New York’s City Council approved a $66 billion fiscal 2012 budget that restores some funding cuts to schools, libraries and social programs as federal and state aid decline and employee salary and benefit obligations rise.
Council members in the most-populous U.S. city voted 49 to 1 today to ratify a June 24 agreement between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn that benefited from $60 million in teacher-union concessions and higher-than- expected attrition to save about 4,100 educators from dismissal.
The budget uses a $3.6 billion surplus from the current year, $700 million from a Retiree Health Benefit Trust and $1 billion in trims to citywide outlays to spend 4.6 percent more than last year’s $63.1 billion. Higher pension and benefit expenses and at least $3 billion less in state and federal aid forced the city to reduce services. It still faces $5 billion deficits in 2013 and 2014, Bloomberg has said.
“Even in these difficult times, New Yorkers expect us to protect the most vital services without putting our future economic stability at risk,” Quinn said in a statement before the vote.
Quinn, a Manhattan Democrat, was credited by United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew with forging the deal that helped save the teachers’ jobs. Charles Barron, a Democrat from Brooklyn, voted no. He criticized cuts to summer youth jobs and day care and described the plan as a “budget for the rich.”
Some 2,600 teaching positions of the 75,000 in the largest U.S. public-school system may be eliminated through attrition, and about 1,000 city workers in non-uniform jobs other than education may be fired in the fiscal year that begins July 1, Bloomberg has said.
The teacher union concessions included a moratorium on study sabbaticals and an easing of rules permitting unassigned permanent teachers to act as substitutes.
The budget also restored 20 firehouses slated for closure in the budget Bloomberg proposed in May. It also provides more money for libraries, child-care and senior centers, Bloomberg said June 24 when he and Quinn announced the deal.
The spending plan includes no new taxes. Revenue projections have increased by about $170 million since Bloomberg proposed his spending plan, the mayor’s office said in a news release.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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