Cuomo Cuts Could Hit NYPD Hiring Plans, de Blasio Says

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  • Medicaid costs could rise by $1 billion by 2020, mayor says
  • City's effort to add 2,000 police officers could be stymied

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state budget proposal, which seeks $800 million of cuts for New York City’s higher education and Medicaid programs, could jeopardize the jobs of 2,000 police officers and plunge the city into a fiscal crisis in the event of an economic slowdown, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The reductions, which Cuomo proposed Wednesday as part of a $145 billion spending plan, would shift to the city $485 million of costs to run the City University of New York, a system of 24 campuses serving almost 600,000 students. Increased Medicaid obligations would amount to $480 million through June 2017 and increase to about $1 billion by 2020, de Blasio said.

“These are very big cuts that will affect health care in New York City and the ability of our young people to get an education,” de Blasio said in a news briefing Thursday. “When times get tough and the economy goes bad and revenues start plummeting, when I turn around and say to Washington and Albany we’re in trouble, the cavalry is just not coming, so we have to protect ourselves.”

De Blasio, who intends to present a preliminary fiscal 2017 budget Jan. 21, has already stashed away more than $6 billion in reserves in his spending plan for this year. Revenue remained strong as the city’s economy produced record jobs and a robust real estate market. Those reserves would quickly be spent if the economy slowed, forcing the city to cut back on additional police officers it intends to assign to patrols and counter-terrorism, de Blasio said.

“We’re adding 2,000 more cops; we wouldn’t be able to do that in the future if we lost a billion dollars from our budget,” the mayor said. He vowed to enlist the city’s delegation in the state Assembly and Senate to fight the budget cuts.

At the same time, the mayor praised the governor for seeking more state funds to create affordable housing, combat homelessness, promote universal all-day pre-kindergarten and support a $15 minimum wage.

Cuomo dismissed the mayor’s concerns, saying he offered his proposals to reduce bureaucracy at City University and the administration of Medicaid.

“It won’t cost New York City a penny, but we will make efficiency changes,” Cuomo said during an interview Thursday on NY1, a cable-television station. “The cost of administration is extraordinarily high and we can do a better job.”

De Blasio said his disagreement with Cuomo was about policy, not personality. The state’s two most prominent Democrats have been publicly feuding since last summer when de Blasio invited reporters into his office and said he was “disappointed” with Cuomo’s lack of support for permanent mayoral control of the city’s schools. The governor said Wednesday he favored a three-year extension of mayoral control over the city’s education system.

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