By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bay Ridgeite Sal Albanese, a maverick Democrat hoping to become the city’s next mayor, blasted the man who currently occupies that post, Michael Bloomberg, for his final budget in office. Albanese charged that with this proposed budget, Bloomberg is asking taxpayers to foot the bill for his administration’s poor fiscal management.
Albanese, a former city councilman who recently announced his intention to run in the Democratic Primary, said that both the mayor and a “complicit political class” are responsible for the city’s financial shape.
“You can't manage a city like a kingdom or its workforce like serfs,” Albanese said.
“Early in his tenure, Mayor Bloomberg made significant progress in putting the city on solid financial footing. But his demonization of city workers proved to be both bad politics and bad public policy. From police to taxi drivers to teachers, he has failed to negotiate fair contracts and tossed a billion dollars in revenue in the trash. He broke his promise to taxpayers and to his successor, who will have to devote precious time to uplifting a demoralized workforce and crafting meaningful long-term fixes to our budget woes,” Albanese said.
The former councilman accused Bloomberg of cutting “vital city services” and depriving a ladder that New Yorkers have used for decades to climb up to the middle class. “But he didn't do this on his own. A complicit political class let him run roughshod over the city. From paid sick leave to affordable housing to a living wage, out-of-touch career politicians failed time and again to provide New Yorkers with a solid footing to lift themselves up,” Albanese said.
Albanese also took a thinly-veiled shot at City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other, more high-profile mayoral candidates without naming them.
“The lesson here is clear: New York City taxpayers need leadership that is independent, in-touch with their needs, and a responsible steward of their money. Neither the current Mayor nor the other folks seeking to replace him fit that description. That's why I'm in this race,” Albanese said.
Albanese served in the City Council for 16 years, from 1981 to 1997, representing a district that included Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and much of Bensonhurst.
Bloomberg, who presented his executive budget last week, stated that his financial plan “continues to protect critical services and foster economic growth, while also taking the responsible, budget-minded actions that have resulted in a more efficient city government.”
Bloomberg’s executive budget, the last one the term-limited mayor will ever produce, is a $70.1 billion plan.
It includes $6.5 billion in savings Bloomberg said were achieved through 12 rounds of deficit closing actions the city has taken since 2007.