We in the Council are committed to working to see New York through this financial crisis, the most significant we have seen in decades. The severe economic conditions we are facing are real. Therefore, Mayor Bloomberg’s proposals will be thoroughly debated and examined by the Council as we fulfill our obligation to balance the budget in a responsible and fair manner. The Council takes seriously the importance of keeping core services in place for our residents, even in this time of economic downturn.

First, let me be very clear – losing 14,000 teachers would deal a devastating blow to our schools and schoolchildren, which have shown remarkable growth and improvement in recent years. We cannot – and will not – allow this to happen. Our state and federal governments must step up to the plate and help us fully cover our education costs.

Albany and Washington play crucial roles in determining the fate of the city budget and ultimately every New Yorker’s pocketbook. We need their help. The final federal stimulus package must be fair to New York, and the State must distribute funds in a way that reflects New York City’s needs.

The Council recognizes the potential of seeking more ways of raising revenue and finding new savings. However, I prefer more progressive revenue options, done according to an income-based scale. We should not take steps to balance the budget that fall on the backs of New Yorkers working hardest to make ends meet.

As I have repeatedly stated, in the economic crisis nothing is off the table. The City must – and will – continue to look for new revenues and additional savings.

David Weprin, Chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, stated:

“This is not a good-news budget, but it is largely contingent on what happens both in Albany and in Washington. If they allocate more money than expected, that is a plus for New York City. But for now, we need to take a responsible approach to closing a $4 billion budget gap. We must make sure we protect the City’s quality of life, and ensure the