Mayor's Budget Scolds State, Saves Child-Care Slots

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Mayor Bloomberg on Friday presented an executive budget that blames state government for $6.8 billion in funding cuts to the city. While announcing the restoration of some child care services that had been targeted for cuts, the mayor’s plan projects that other previously announced cuts to agency budgets will take a steeper toll than predicted.

The mayor’s budget summary heaps scorn upon Albany, proclaiming in bold text that “Over 70 percent of this year’s STATE gap closing actions were reductions in local aid statewide without any reduction in mandates” (emphasis theirs) and adding, “Breaking a commitment that dates back to the 1940s and simply returns a portion of taxpayer’s money back to their localities, the state has for the second consecutive year eliminated the city’s share of revenue sharing.”

In a reversal from the mayor’s preliminary budget in February, which announced that some 17,000 child-care slots administered through the child welfare system would disappear, the mayor on Friday unveiled a $40 million plan to salvage 4,500 seats in the child-welfare system and increase the size of a separate after-school program to provide the balance of seats.

City Council General Welfare Committee Chairwoman Annabel Palma said the proposal was a “step forward” but added that “for those low-income and working families who rely on subsidized child care, there are more questions than answers at this point,” since the mayor is proposing to replace a $91 million program with $40 million in services.

Meanwhile, Programs to Eliminate the Gap announced in November—like reducing NYPD civilian hiring and cuts to library subsidies—will have a bigger impact on some agencies than predicted back in February. Cutbacks at the Administration for Children’s Services, for instance, will strip not the February estimate of $38 million but rather $68 million from the ACS budget.