“Since the recent financial crisis and recession, the City Council has worked aggressively to control spending and manage the City’s budget in a fiscally responsible manner while protecting vital services. That’s why we have grave concerns about a budget that allows for teacher layoffs, which would be immensely damaging to our education system and children’s opportunities for a quality education. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to prevent teacher layoffs.

“Clearly, the deep cuts the City has endured from Albany and from Washington make our job this year even more challenging. While we have faced difficult budgets over the past several years, the challenge of replacing lost State and Federal aid – which has fallen to its lowest level as a share of the City budget in decades – leaves us facing particularly deep and damaging cuts in many areas.

“In the weeks ahead, the Council will review the specifics of the Mayor’s proposals. We will propose alternative cuts to many of those proposed by the Mayor. And we will continue to press for savings in the area of contractual spending.

“We are pleased that the Mayor announced today a new police class of roughly 1400 officers that will start in July. The Council has long fought to sustain our police force and preserve new classes of police officers. The Mayor’s commitment to address the childcare cuts proposed in the preliminary budget is also a good first step. However, it is not a complete solution, and we will be carefully evaluating how this proposal impacts our communities and how to reduce these cuts.

“We are concerned that the executive budget proposes de-staffing 20 fire engine companies. We are also disappointed that, after making a joint commitment to 6-day library service in 2008, to see a 29 percent cut to the City’s libraries. This cut would result in most branches opening only three days a week at best.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us in the next several weeks. The Council is committed to working with the Administration and to making the tough decisions necessary to protect the essential services and important programs New Yorkers depend on, as well as the long-term fiscal health of our City. The Council remains committed to once again reaching an on-time and prudently balanced budget.”