In passing a very late state budget, New York lawmakers have managed to cost already cash-strapped New York City $250 million, forcing city officials to scramble for ways to come up with the money, city officials said yesterday.
Although city officials had pleaded with Albany for the $250 million as partof a $3.5 million gap-closing measure for its $28.1 billion fiscal 1992 budget, which begins July 1, the end result of the state's longest budget imbroglio has left city officials in the lurch.
"The news is not good," said Mayor David N. Dinkins at a City Hall press conference. "I am more than a little angry, and my fellow New Yorkers ought to be more than a little distressed that Albany is not only 67 days late in adopting a final budget, but has now tentatively adopted a budget which leaves us $250 million short of the gap-closing assistance absolutely essential if the city is to balance its books for fiscal year 1992."
The $51.9 billion state budget has not been signed by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, who claims it is not balanced and has threatened to veto portions of it.
Not bothering to conceal his anger, Mayor Dinkins said, "Albany gives with one hand only to take away even more with the other."
The city claims the budget contains changes that affect the laws overseeing the issuance of city traffic and parking summonses that will cost the city %60 million annually.
And about $108 million in new assistance that was granted by the state has so many conditions attached to it that it is virtually useless for gap-closing measures, city officials said. The money is ear-marked for the Board of Education and the City University of New York "but is so restrictive as to prevent either the Board of Education or CUNY from mitigating the educations in classroom services they must implement to close their share of the city's fiscal 1992 budget gap." Mayor Dinkins said.
The mayor also and said the state, at no cost to itself, could have "easily provided more than $150 million in mandate relief to the city in 1991 and 1992.
"But despite Albany's protestations and promises to the contrary, the state budget proposes only a snail's pace progress on mandate relief, authorizing measures which provide for less than 20% of the savings that could otherwise be achieved by the city," he said.
New gap-closing plans are now being prepared by First Deputy Mayor Norman Steisel and Budget Director Philip R. Michael, the mayor added.
And to cover city cash-flow problems caused by delayed state aid payments, Mayor Dinkins also said that he has requested city officials to urge Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature to pass an amendment to allow the city to sell $2.5 billion of revenue anticipation notes. The notes, secured with slate aid payments, would repay a like amount of notes coming due on June 28. The amendment would allow the city to have the notes mature in fiscal 1992.
Mr. Michael said, however, the city would not now be forced sell $500 million in tax anticipation notes, secured with property taxes, to cover cash- flow problems because additional money has become available, primarily from the proceeds of a $675 million general obligation bond offering sold on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone released an updated city council financial plan for the city which, he claimed, presented balanced budgets for the next four fiscal year.
The city council calls for $27.9 billion in spending for fiscal 1992, over $200 million less than the spending plan offered by Mayor Dinkins.
Mr. Vallone supports using $330 million from a capital reserve of outstanding first resolution bonds sold by the Municipal Assistance Corp. for the City of New York. The city could use $165 million for fiscal 1992 budget relief, and $165 million would be deposited into a transitional reserve fund.
The chairman of MAC, Felix G. Rohatyn, has said he would refund $1 billion of outstanding first resolution bonds to provide the city with $1 billion over the next three to five fiscal years. But the large revenue one-shot plan has been put on hold because Standard & Poor's Corp. has warned that it is a gimmick and that the agency would downgrade the city's GO bonds if it was used.
The level of property taxes is the most contentious budget issue between the Speaker and the Mayor. Mr. Vallone has been firmly opposed to Mayor Dinkin's proposals to raise property taxes by $776 million. The council has offered to support only $300 million in property increases.
Among the other proposals in the plan, the council seeks $350 million in reduced labor costs and cuts totaling about $276 million in administrative spending, to offset dramatic service reductions. About $400 million of the Mayor's proposed $2 billion in service reductions would be restored, according to the plan.