I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his presentation this afternoon of the fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget.

The City is facing the worst financial outlook since the 1970s, but thanks to the surpluses we have accumulated over the last several years, the outlook for this year is not as bad as it could have been. However, the projection for FY11 and FY12 continue to raise serious concerns, with projected gaps of $4.6 billion and $5.2 billion respectively.

Thanks to the federal stimulus funding, we are going to avoid some of the more drastic cuts to our public schools and a number of other important services. However, it is important for everyone to realize that this money is a one shot deal. Stimulus funding for FY11 is less than we hoped, and we must be mindful that while the projection today is better than expected, there are hard challenges we will have to confront in the very near future.

I continue to believe that increasing sales tax is a regressive way to generate revenue because it places an unfair burden on those who have the least. The idea of eliminating the tax exemption on clothing only compounds that burden.

The Council will begin budget hearings on Monday, May 11th. We look forward to working with the administration on a budget that will preserve the core services that are critically important to many New Yorkers.