Mayor John Tory stands firm on low taxes in the face of massive budget shortfall, declining city services and other concerns
By Susan Delacourt and Jeff Yurek
March 28, 2013, Friday
The New York City Council has taken a major step to save the city from financial ruin, approving a $9 billion budget, by vetoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to raise the city’s property tax rate by 75 cents on the dollar.
The two-year-old budget plan — the largest ever in the country — has many critics, including the city’s financial advisors, who say the tax increase would put the city in a dangerous fiscal position by leading to an increase in the city’s debt. But the mayor, who has pledged to stick by his budget plan, insists the tax increase is necessary if the city is to maintain the services it provides to its residents.
“I’m not going to be a mayor who is willing to spend money that can’t be paid for,” said Mr. Tory, pointing out that the only way for the city to cut costs is with the help of the private sector. “How do you manage to save $9 billion when you have a deficit of $1 billion a year? You can’t.”
Mr. Tory, who has argued repeatedly that the city’s budget shortfalls are a result of the failure of the city’s elected politicians, who he said have shown a “deep lack of foresight,” rejected any suggestions that the decision was driven by political considerations.
“All we’re doing now is moving forward with the work we’ve done for the last two and a half years,” Mr. Tory said. “That will make us even better off in the long run.”
Mr. Tory said the plan would keep up the current level of city infrastructure funding.