New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified before the State Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday in Albany where he expressed 'strong support for many elements' of Governor Cuomo's proposed Executive Budget. View full testimony here.
'In his budget, the Governor has set an agenda for this session that is both far-ranging and ambitious,' the three term mayor said. 'Its energy and vision are just what our state government needs.'
Bloomberg specifically mentioned his support for a new pension tier for future employees that Cuomo offered up last week in his budget address, both in his own city and across the state, calling the current growth 'unsustainable.'
The mayor mentioned when he first took office in 2002, the City’s costs came to $1.5 billion. Now a decade later they are more than $8 million, a fifty percent increase.
'Unless we enact sensible reforms now, our pension costs will only keep growing – and keep diminishing our ability to pay for schools, libraries, parks and other essential services.' (See more on Bloomberg’s testimony on pensions in the clip above)
Bloomberg also praised the governor for his emphasis on teacher evaluation citing the need for a system that goes 'beyond what we have now - pass/fail grades that are not very informative about teacher quality.'
The mayor did criticize parts of Cuomo's budget including what he called 'deficiencies' concerning human services. Specifically, he mentioned the administration's elimination of the state’s share of funding for local administrative costs of child support enforcement and collection and he called on the state to fill a $5 million shortfall in funding for the Nurse-Family Partnership Program.
Bloomberg came to the Capitol on a day that has become known as the 'Tin Cup Brigade,' where mayors from the largest cities around the state testify to their constituent's needs. Also appearing before the committee was Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Rochester Mayor Tom Richards.