Bill de Blasio will furlough ENTIRE mayoral staff for a week – but it will only save NYC $860,000

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that he is furloughing his own staff, including himself, in a symbolic gesture that will save just $860,000 while the city faces a budget deficit of some $4.2billion.

The mayor’s plan will affect 495 City Hall staffers who will be asked to take an unpaid, weeklong furlough at some point between October and March 2021.

The furloughs will be taken by administrative assistants to both the mayor and his wife, Chirlane McCray, The New York Times is reporting.

De Blasio’s spokesperson told the Times that the mayor plans to continue working during his own furlough. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that he and his entire staff will take a one-week unpaid furlough

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that he and his entire staff will take a one-week unpaid furlough

The spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt, said it was ‘a significant gesture that reasserts City Hall recognizes the sacrifices that will have to be made across the board if we don’t get a stimulus or borrowing.’

The mayor has warned that he may have to lay off 22,000 city employees if he and the union cannot agree on cost-cutting measures.

New York City also needs the state to grant it the authority to finance its operations with some $5billion in long-term debt.

The city has also asked the federal government for aid, but so far none appears to be coming.

The coronavirus outbreak had caused the city to lose $9billion in revenue and forced a $7billion cut to the city’s annual budget, de Blasio told reporters.

The furloughs will save only about $1million, the mayor said, but may serve as a useful symbol as he continues to negotiate with labor unions representing municipal employees over broader payroll savings.

‘It was not a decision I made lightly,’ he told reporters. 

‘To have to do this is painful for them and their families, but it is the right thing to do at this moment in history.’

With the furloughs and other savings, the mayor’s office budget this fiscal year will be 12 per cent smaller than it was last year, de Blasio said, though he did not provide absolute totals. 

De Blasio’s announcement was welcomed by the mayor’s critics on social media.

‘Prob the best thing he’s ever done for NYC,’ tweeted one Twitter user.

‘It’s about time,’ remarked another social media user.

Another Twitter user commented: ‘Make it permanent!’ 

‘De Blasio won’t work during furlough. Will anyone notice?’ Alice Stewart tweeted.

Another Twitter user commented: ‘NYC will improve.’ 

Nan Hayworth tweeted: ‘Here’s an even better idea: furlough de Blasio permanently.’ 

Another Twitter user remarked: ‘You should furlough the rest of your time in office! YOU RUINED THE CITY!’

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Whoa slow down @NYCMayor – a full one week furlough? You’re doing to much #saidnooneever #whatajoke.’

Greg Meyer tweeted: ‘This is a very smart move, Bill de Blasio is not an essential worker.’ 

John Harding Sweeney tweeted: ‘Can we make this furlough permanent???’ 

The mayor has been more vocal about raising taxes for the rich over the last few months, to ease the city’s woes.

Just two weeks ago, on an appearance on The Brian Lehrer Show, de Blasio said: ‘Help me tax the wealthy. Help me redistribute wealth. Help me build affordable housing in white communities if you want desegregation,’ in response to a question about integrating public schools.

And on Monday, de Blasio advocated for owners of local sports stadiums, such as Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, to also pay more taxes to help aid the city’s bounce-back.

‘Let’s be clear – sports franchises have gained incredible value over the years,’ de Blasio said during a press briefing. 

‘They clearly have the resources. I think the history in this city and pretty much all over the country was stadium deals were not good deals for the public, by and large. Some of the more recent ones have been better, but mostly they haven’t been that good.

‘Everything should be reevaluated especially at a point when the city is going to need resources for our recovery.’

Other top city officials have also started urging the wealthy to pay higher taxes.

Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city’s wealthiest residents should be prepared to ‘step up and help’ close the Big Apple’s gaping deficit by paying higher taxes.

Stringer’s warning today echoes a similar caution issued by state Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, who said without additional funding from Washington, DC, he will be left with no choice to raise taxes to save the city from economic ruin.  

Stringer told Bloomberg TV he believes the city could save $400million by refinancing debt and as much as $1 illion through efficiencies. 

The wealthy may need ‘to pay a little bit more to get us through this crisis,’ he said.

‘People of great wealth have done great in the city in the last 10 or 20 years, they should be prepared if necessary to step up, to help out as well when that happens,’ Stringer, who is running for mayor in 2021, continued.

‘It seems reasonable that people who have great wealth would want to help this city in which they make money.’

Stringer also dismissed concerns that raising taxes for those in the highest percentile would likely drive them out of New York for good.

He said that people have fled many times over the years during various crises but inevitably return.

‘There will be some that leave,’ he said. ‘Why would you risk your life going to Texas or Florida or any place where you have governors who just ignore health and safety laws? You’ve got to be nuts to go there.’

Cuomo had long been reluctant to the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy. 

New York City’s wealthiest residents should be prepared to ‘step up and help’ close the Big Apple’s gaping $4.2 billion deficit by paying higher taxes, Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday

New York City’s wealthiest residents should be prepared to ‘step up and help’ close the Big Apple’s gaping $4.2 billion deficit by paying higher taxes, Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday

New York City already holds the unfavorable distinction of being first in the nation for the highest combined burden of state and local income taxes, at a total rate of 12.7 percent

New York City already holds the unfavorable distinction of being first in the nation for the highest combined burden of state and local income taxes, at a total rate of 12.7 percent

In August he begged the rich to return to NYC and save the city from economic ruin. 

He also warned against tax hikes, saying it would likely lead the wealthy to permanently relocate elsewhere.

However, late last week he appeared to changed his tune.

Cuomo said that if Washington fails to provide additional crisis funding to offset losses incurred by the coronavirus pandemic, he will have no choice but to increase the burden on New York’s already heavily taxed residents.

‘This will be a hole in the financial plan so large that it will be impossible to fill,’ Cuomo said Thursday of the mounting debt. 

‘What would we do to try to fill it? Taxes, cuts, borrowing, early retirements [of government workers]. All of the above.’

According to the governor, that scenario will not play out until others have been exhausted.

The ideal scenario would be for the federal government to provide relief, Cuomo said, before adding that ‘Washington is doing absolutely nothing.’

The second-best option would be for the US government to increase taxes nationwide, so that New York is not put at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other states and cities, the Democratic governor added.

New York City already holds the unfavorable distinction of being first in the nation for the highest combined burden of state and local income taxes, at a total rate of 12.7 percent, according to Tax Foundation.

That works out to be an average annual hit of $2,877, the foundation said.

And only last month, the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked New York State’s economic outlook as the worst in the country for the seventh year in a row, mainly on account of its burdensome taxes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a desperate plea urging the richest residents to return to the city to help save it from economic ruin

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a desperate plea urging the richest residents to return to the city to help save it from economic ruin

Cuomo’s new threats to raise taxes comes as a stark reversal on his previous warning that such a motion would put New York at a competitive disadvantage without states and lead to an exodus among high earners

Cuomo’s new threats to raise taxes comes as a stark reversal on his previous warning that such a motion would put New York at a competitive disadvantage without states and lead to an exodus among high earners

The governor has projected a deficit of $30 billion in the state over the next two years, due to the deadly impact of COVID-19

The governor has projected a deficit of $30 billion in the state over the next two years, due to the deadly impact of COVID-19

Cuomo’s new threats to raise taxes comes as a stark reversal on his previous warning that such a motion would put New York at a competitive disadvantage with other states and lead to an exodus among high earners.

New Yorkers have been leaving the city in droves since the pandemic began. Between March 1 and May 1, more than 420,000 fled, many of whom resided in the city’s richest neighborhoods, including SoHo, and the Upper East Side.

By the end of June more than 16,000 New Yorkers had permanently changed their address from NYC to a Connecticut address. 

In the months since, others have fled to Vermont, Idaho and Ohio in abundance in search of pastures new.

The moves away were driven, in part, by an increased fear of living in densely populated cities amid the pandemic.

But in addition to grappling COVID-19, New York City in particular has also struggled with escalating crime and homelessness in recent months, with encampments taking over affluent areas of the city, including Chelsea and the West Village.

The city’s up-scale Upper West Side neighborhood experienced an exodus of its own across August, with dozens of moving trucks seen lining residential streets and long-lines forming outside of U-Haul stations.

The exit came in response to a surge in crime, random violence, drug use, public urination and open prostitution following City Council’s decision to move thousands of homeless people into boutique hotels in the area to try and stop the virus spreading.

In addition to grappling COVID-19, New York City in particular has also struggled with escalating crime and homelessness in recent months

In addition to grappling COVID-19, New York City in particular has also struggled with escalating crime and homelessness in recent months

Homeless encampments have been seen cropping up across the city, often in affluent areas (Pictured: homeless encampment can be seen along West 38th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue in Manhattan)

Homeless encampments have been seen cropping up across the city, often in affluent areas (Pictured: homeless encampment can be seen along West 38th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue in Manhattan)

Following a public outcry, and threats of legal action, the city has since placed the scheme on hold.

The city’s Midtown region has also been left virtually deserted since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, as companies have shifted to work from home models.

So far, less than 10 percent of NYC’s office employees have returned to public workspaces, posing yet another threat to the city’s financial health – as office buildings account for almost 10 per cent of total annual revenue. 

The loss in revenue, officials have warned, would cause a ruinous fallout.

Amid the unrest, Cuomo has projected a statewide deficit of $30 billion in the over the next two years, due to the deadly impact of COVID-19.  

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