Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bloomberg's Fiscal Hypocrisy

When Mayor Bloomberg was making his case for extending term limits to the city council, his public relations front centered around the false premise that because he was rich, he could also manage the city's finances in tough times. Since the bill was pushed through so quickly by his allies in the city council, no one had enough time to properly review (or even let the people decide if they wanted to relinquish the term limit law they had voted on twice) if what he was saying even made sense. Now with the details of the budget and the view of NYC's fiscal future become a bit more clear, we see that the Mayor was a big part of the problem in getting us where we are today.

From The NY Times:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is sounding the alarm over New York City’s pension system these days, calling it “out of control.”

Costs have ballooned, he says, threatening to bankrupt the city. Municipal unions and lawmakers in Albany created the crisis, he suggests, and left the city holding the bag.

But interviews and budget records show that the Bloomberg administration itself is responsible for much of the growth in city pension costs over the last eight years, and has repeatedly missed opportunities to rein in the spending.

Since Mr. Bloomberg took office, city contributions to the pension system have jumped nearly five-fold to $6.3 billion, from $1.4 billion, and they now account for one out of every 10 dollars in the city’s budget.
Now don't get me wrong, I love that workers got raises. Yet the role of the Mayor is to have the right leadership to help city workers without over-taxing the city's ability to stay afloat. The worst thing about it though, is that Bloomberg claims to be something he's not. If he were to say something closer to the truth (that he was looking for the support of municipal workers at the expense of the city's financial health) then perhaps we could look at this through a different lens. Bloomberg however wants to be everything to everyone so that he can hold onto power for another four years, and that is something every voter should be well aware of when going to the polls in the fall.