Year Four of the Great Recession has taken its toll on budgets across the country: it’s hard to not come across some sort of public service being slashed in the news almost every day. The reactionary politics of cut-and-save economics has hit New York hard since Downtown self-imploded in 2008 as Bloomberg’s City Hall rushes to keep the City’s budget somewhat intact by eliminating millions from education, healthcare, public housing and the rest of the starving bunch. Consequentially, the City’s 10% unemployment rate is a testament to the fact that times are tough for millions of New Yorkers.
This notion continued yesterday when the Hozziner announced
he expects to see nearly $2 billion cut from his final budget the next fiscal year. That amount comes out to about 3% of the total budget as a whole, meaning that these cuts are going to be deep and their impact on New Yorkers’ lives even deeper. And the targets of this setback ring out this message even louder: in a rare occasion, the NYPD will be on the chopping block.
In accordance with the City Hall budget memo
, here’s what we should expect to see with a projected deficit of $2.5 billion in the next 18 months:
All together, the $2 billion in cuts translates into 5.4% for each department this year and 8% next year. What does that mean in specifics? These are a few examples
of the new cost of existence:
Police, Fire, Sanitation and Correction: 2.7% this year (2013); 4% next year (2014).
Education: 1.4% this year; 4% next year.
In the first year, along with the other across-the-board cuts for all of the departments, this yields about $750 million in savings – a far-cry from the $2.5 billion needed to plug up that deficit. But, with the additional cuts the following year, we have another $1.75 billion to work with. I’m not a mathematician but, together, that gives us the $2 billion that Bloomberg is demanding we save.
And, with that money in hand, the deficit will be slightly adjusted but one must keep in mind that Bloomberg will be out at the end of 2013. His successor, whomever that may be, will inherit a $3 billion IOU and an extremely shitty situation. Good luck with that.
During a period in City history when crime rates are bumping up a bit and our value of education is increasingly subpar, these cuts could not come at a worse time. But that is one of the biggest ironies of the Great Recession: in terms of American history, the hope for a vibrant surplus disappeared when we needed it the most. The consequences of these cuts have yet to be seen, although it can be guaranteed that that will be a whole other story.