Lack of funding for wage increases for municipal employees working under expired union contracts could result in multi-year, multibillion-dollar gaps, New York City Comptroller John Liu told the City Council.
"The mayor has not budgeted sufficiently for even the small wage increases he envisions, and has put aside bupkis for any retroactive wages," Liu told the council's finance committee on Wednesday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has opposed retroactive wage increases, putting talks with municipal workers on hold. Meanwhile, the 51-member council must approve Bloomberg's proposed $72 billion executive budget and four-year financial plan by June 30.
Liu identified roughly $440 million in the budget that the council could use to restore to programs cut by Bloomberg, such as firehouses and child care. Those funds include $165 million in debt-service savings in this fiscal year, the potential for another $125 million of such savings in the next year, and the overfunding of the general reserve by $150 million.
He said more support for adult literacy programs topped the list of his "people's budget" survey on his department website.
Moody's Investors Service rates the city's general obligation bonds Aa2, while Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's assign AA ratings.