Pay Freeze Doesn't Seem Enough For NY
New York, New York — After being granted a reprieve through a pay freeze, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that this may not be enough and that they have to push through with the cutting of around 4,400 teachers in the city. The change in plans was spurred by the unexpected move of the Congress last week to reject extra Medicaid funds that many states included in their budget. New York is one of these states, and they were looking forward to obtaining $600 million worth of Medicaid money. Medicaid is the nationwide plan for the poor, disabled, and elderly.
Asked if the educators will be forced to leave their jobs, Bloomberg replied, "Everything will be up in the air." He continued, "We don't have to necessarily cut in any one area but overall we'd have to come up with some way to raise an extra $600 million or reduce expenses by $600 million." He met with New York's Congressional delegation to emphasize their need for the Medicaid support; but at the same time, Bloomberg must also consider the deadline of the finalization of the city's budget, which is on June 28. If they don't get things together by then, major cuts in the budget must be done. Bloomberg doesn't want this but he is left with no choice if that's the case.
Initially, the Mayor planned to freeze two years worth of wages of an estimated 80,000 teachers. This would've saved them approximately $400 million in the coming fiscal year and negated the need for employee layoffs. New York Governor David Paterson said that the state stands to lose $1 billion if the additional Medicaid funds is not approved, increasing its deficit by $1 billion to $10.2 billion.