Monday, April 27, 2009


As Adam Lisberg reported yesterday, the city needs to find some more revenue-and find it quick in order to balance the municipal budget before June 30th: "Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council have to plug a billion-dollar hole in the budget by the end of June - but they're running out of taxes to raise. Recall that the city raised property taxes 7.5% at the start of the year and axed the $400 property tax rebate, which didn't go over well with Council members who rely on homeowners for votes. They're unlikely to do it again."

So, let's get this straight. After just about eight years in office, and after having raised taxes to levels never before seen in the city's history, Mike Bloomberg finds that his budget once again is out of whack; and needs another cash infusion. This is what happens when you hire a political ingenue, one whose philosophy is steeped in the belief that the government is always a benevolent force. Which is why, for the past seven years, Mike Bloomberg has been adding workers to the public payroll-increasing the size of government while, at the same time, raising taxes and fees for middle class New Yorkers.

E. J. McMahon captures this irresponsible nobless-and he did so over six years ago: "One welcome change in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's preliminary budget is a more accurate count of New York City's enormous municipal workforce. It turns out there are even more city employees than anyone previously thought -- ironically underscoring just how little Mayor Bloomberg is initially proposing in the way of agency workforce reductions, despite all the talk of budgetary "pain." Rather than identifying the size of the workforce as part of the problem, the new mayor benignly characterized it as evidence that New York is simply "more compassionate" than other cities. This kind of compassion doesn't come cheap."

We wonder if Bloomberg will be highlighting this "compassionate side" in his next batch of relentless campaign self promotion? No, we don't believe we'll be seeing this-nor are we sanguine that a supine editorial chorus will be pointing this side of the mayor out when the next round of taxes is proposed. As the News points out: "That property tax increase is just now rippling through other costs, like your electric bill. Half of Con Ed's new 6.4% rate increase is because of the company's rising tax bill. Property taxes and rising utility costs will also help push up rents on New York's 1 million rent-stabilized apartments - so no one is exempt from that pain."

For eight years Mike Bloomberg has squandered any opportunity to rein in the cost of government-hoping to use huge tax increases, Wall Street cash, and his own great wealth to weather the economic storms; and, largely, he has been able to do so because of a relatively quiescent local media, and an equally tame and inept Democratic party. An environment that will likely see him ascend to a third term.

But what Steve Malanga said about him in 2003 is still true today-only more so: "A year later, it’s now clear what the city has gotten with Bloomberg: a political neophyte, presiding haplessly over a government that is rapidly spinning out of control. In a dismaying rerun of Mayor John Lindsay’s 1960s mayoralty, Bloomberg is behaving as if New York were once again the ungovernable city. The mayor has emerged as a guardian of the local status quo, the defender of big government and the municipal workforce. Proclaiming that forces beyond his control are compelling him, he has instituted the largest tax increase in the city’s history, apologized for even the smallest cuts in government services, declared that everything New York City’s massive government does is vitally necessary, and confidently announced that tax increases won’t drive out citizens or businesses."

After performing like the resurrection of John V. Lindsay, he now wants to be re-elected because of his sterling stewardship of the city's economy and government. There could be no greater disconnect than the assertion that the city needs Mike Bloomberg's leadership to help guide us out of the worst recession in 70 years. As my mother-in-law would say: "Like a loch im kopf."