Mayor Bill de Blasio is leaving his successor a budget with a $5.4 billion deficit, as he and the City Council have added another $300 million in hiring to the Big Apple’s payroll, according to a new analysis Tuesday.
The spending — which will be used to fund about 4,000 jobs — was quietly included in the $98.7 billion 2022 fiscal year budget that the City Council approved last month, a report by Citizens Budget Commission found.
The move reversed a hiring freeze that de Blasio included in his January spending plan, according to the CBC.
It also adds to the $5.1 billion budget deficit that the CBC projected last month.
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The new workers would help swell the city’s workforce cap to an all-time high of 337,294, just shy of what was anticipated before the COVID-19 pandemic wrecked the Big Apple’s economy, the CBC said.
While this change to the 2022 budget will increase the workforce over this fiscal year, the spending plan also leaves in place a contradictory plan to eliminate 3,987 workers between 2023 and 2025, according to the CBC.
That will put the next mayor in the difficult spot of finding a way to cut those jobs or coming up with the roughly $300 million to fund them.
The budgetary maneuver followed a gimmick that the independent fiscal watchdog group uncovered in February, when it revealed that Hizzoner’s budget relied on scoring $1 billion in unspecified savings through concessions from the city’s labor unions.
CBC President Andrew Rein on Monday called Blasio’s late move a glaring example of “can-kicking.”
“The next mayor will have to propose his first budget and they will have to find this savings and they will have to find the $1 billion in fake labor savings, before even attacking the budget gap as reported on paper,” Rein said.
“The budget gap the next mayor faces now totals $5.4 billion and not the $4.1 billion that’s shown.”
Rein added: “These are large budget gaps and the next round of collective bargaining with the workforce will put additional upward pressure on costs.”
The $5.4 billion shortfall calculated by the CBC is nearly equal to the $5.6 billion that the city projected for fiscal 2013 in 2009, amid the Great Recession.
Under state and city law, the Big Apple cannot operate in the red but it can plan for future deficits while preparing its budgets.
A de Blasio spokeswoman said, “CBC misses the point.”
“Even allowing for gains to help the city recover, we have driven headcount to its lowest point in five years and put a 2-for-1 attrition policy in place that reduces vacant positions and generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually in budget savings,” spokeswoman Laura Feyer said.
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“It’s a win-win for New Yorkers.”
Republican mayoral hopeful Curtis Sliwa quickly went on the attack.
“Bill de Blasio padded the payroll and created a debt for the next mayor and his buddy [Democratic candidate] Eric Adams remains silent while a fiscal crisis looms for NYC,” Sliwa said in a prepared statement.
“All because de Blasio has spent our money like a drunken sailor.”
Representatives for Adams didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
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