Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rip Van Bloomberg

Newly elected mayor Mike Bloomberg has just recently been made aware of the calamitous situation facing NYC because of its bloated pension costs-and he is vowing to get a hold of the mess before it really gets bad for New York tax payers. As the NY Post reports: "The Bloomberg administration is reviewing the city's costly pension system to determine if there's a way to rein in exploding payouts unilaterally or whether "legal changes" are necessary, officials disclosed yesterday. "We are starting to focus on all our expenses; clearly pensions are right near the top," Mayor Bloomberg said after being asked at a City Hall press conference if the Fire Department Pension Fund needs to more closely scrutinize the disability pensions granted to three-quarters of retiring firefighters."

Of course, in reality the mayor has actually been in office for the past eight years, and in that time the pension bloat has become cadaver-like, and autopsy ready: "Overall, the city's pension costs are expected to reach $7.6 billion this year -- up from $1.4 billion when Bloomberg took office in 2002. Next year, it's expected to hit $8.7 billion."

But, as the mayor himself realizes, it is not the individual cases of abuse-whether they are isolated or not-it is the system itself that is unsustainable. However, knowing that the system creates unsustainable tax payer obligations should behoove the fiscally responsible elected official to rein in these costs by limiting the size and scope of municipal government-something that Mike Bloomberg didn't do, in fact, as we pointed out yesterday, he did the exact opposite.

So now, eight and a half years after taking office, Rip Van Bloomberg awakens to the city's unsustainable pension problem. But Mike, unlike Topsy, it didn't just growed.