MANHATTAN - Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered his fiscal budget address Friday, asking the city's workforce to contribute money for health care expenses and outlining proposed jobs cuts.
Before delving into the details of the 2010 fiscal budget, which kicks in July 1, the mayor spoke briefly about the swine flu outbreak.
"New Yorkers continue to behave in a sensible manner, going about life in the usual fashion while also heeding the steps that we have stressed all week long," Bloomberg said.
The mayor began his budget speech by reassuring New Yorkers that the city will be able to avoid laying off teachers, firefighters, police officers, health care providers and other workers who provide vital services.
However, Bloomberg said, all city agencies are asked to trim their budgets by a total of $324 million in addition to cuts that were announced in January. As a result, more than 1,000 city workers would be laid off, including traffic enforcement agents and library employees.
Bloomberg blamed the city's fiscal predicament on a combination of recession and a sharp drop in tax revenue. Between 2008 and 2010, New York City is expected to lose a total of some $7 billion in tax revenue thanks to a 30 percent drop in taxes on personal income, sales and real estate transactions.
In an effort to offset the losses, Bloomberg said he expects city unions to help restructure health care plans, contributing 10 percent for medical coverage. The mayor also expressed hope the state will help increase the city's tax revenue and enact a new pension tier for new hires.
"Without such help from Albany and from the unions, we do face a shortfall of more than $4 billion, and that would have to be filled by other means," Bloomberg said.
Among other measures that will be taken to improve New York City's financial situation, Bloomberg said the sales tax hike he proposed a few months ago will be doubled from 0.25 to 0.5 percent. The mayor also said he wants to implement a sales tax on plastic bags, which is expected to generate $100 million.
"It's a revenue source that may get people to not clog up landfills will these plastic bags," he said.
To watch Mayor Bloomberg's budget address, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.