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Mulgrew: Final spending plan a “classic Bloomberg budget game”

Calling it a “classic Bloomberg budget game,” teachers union boss Michael Mulgrew panned new revenue estimates for the city’s 2015 spending plan as lower than they should be.

Mayor Bloomberg today released modifications to the city’s 2015 budget, touting the fact that he’ll deliver a balanced budget to an incoming administration for the “first time in documented city history.” The budget update reflected new income earned from the sale of taxi medallions and $210 million in savings over five years from public bidding of busing contracts.

The latest numbers eliminated a $2 billion budget deficit that the city had warned about earlier this year, an achievement that Mulgrew attributed more to budget trickery than anything else.

“This is a classic Bloomberg budget game,” Mulgrew said in a statement. “He lowballs revenue projections, overestimates expenses, and then claims poverty.”

Mulgrew, who penned an op-ed about the Bloomberg’s budgets earlier this week, takes the issue personally. As United Federation of Teachers president, Mulgrew oversees a union of city workers that has gone without a raise in four years, the longest of any other municipal labor force.

Mulgew said that more accurate projections would show that there is enough money to award teachers the four percent retroactive pay increase that they’re asking for.

“When the real numbers come in, with more revenue and fewer expenses than he claimed he was expecting, he takes credit for the magical appearance of a surplus,” Mulgrew added.

The raises would cost $3.8 billion in the first year of being awarded, according to city estimates. Bloomberg has said that he would only offer 1.25 percent raises for two years after a new contract is settled.

De Blasio will inherit the budget, as well as the responsibility to negotiate new contracts with the UFT and dozens of other public sector unions. He will be required by law to submit a preliminary plan sometime in January, though he could re-submit one without major changes until he has more time in office to negotiate the contracts.

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