New York City is headed toward the same bankrupt fate as Detroit, unless the incoming mayor tends to municipal union issues and curbs soaring pension costs right away, Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned on Tuesday.
“Avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt,” he said, in a speech before a Brooklyn crowd, The New York Post reported.
Mr. Bloomberg only has five months left to serve. And in between issuing nanny-type governance creeds — attempting to ban supersize sodas, denouncing cigarettes, trans-fats and Styrofoam containers — he’s advising his followers to take heed from a city that’s been there, done that in terms of financial disaster.
Chicago, he reminded, just sent pink slips to 2,100 teachers and school workers to help defray the costs of pensions.
“Chicago is far from alone,” he said, The Post reported. “Cities across the country all face the prospect of pension costs swallowing more and more of their budget, and New York is no exception. Anyone who thinks it can’t happen here needs only to look at the late 1970s when the city laid off more than 10,000 teachers and thousands of police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, hospital workers and other city employees.”
Mr. Bloomberg also reminded, The Post reported: “About 95 percent of [city] employees and retirees contribute nothing — not even a dollar — to their basic health care premiums.” By comparison, he said, state government workers have only 90 percent of their health care plans paid by taxpayers.