Bloomberg and Miller Defend City’s Interests Differently

By Maurice Pinzon
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, surrounded by Dominican community leaders just minutes before the Dominican Day Parade was to begin, spoke with reporters and insisted the State agreement on bond refinancing should be honored.

After Mayor Bloomberg threatened to sue over the issue last week, Governor George Pataki offered on Friday to provide the City with “$500 million in annual fiscal relief.” But Mayor Bloomberg was not buying the offer. The Mayor said Governor Pataki’s proposal would not provide “the money the State proposal has and it lacks the guarantees.” Mayor Bloomberg explained that, as structured by the Governor, the City would have to return to Albany each year for approval on the debt assistance. Under the current agreement the State would take over the full obligation of $500 million a year in bond payments for a total of $2.5 billion in Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC) debt from the 70’s fiscal crisis.

Mayor Bloomberg appears to be willing to consider only three options: Leave the State Legislative agreement in place, accept only an equivalent proposal from Governor Pataki, or sue the State if it reneges on its legal commitment to provide debt relief. But Mayor Bloomberg maintained his non-confrontational posture towards the Governor, taking almost a financier’s legal approach on the bond sale. (See comments by Felix Rohatyn in Bloomberg to Fight for State Budget Agreement Promised to City)

By contrast, a few minutes after the Mayor left to join the parade, New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller attacked the Governor with strong language. Speaker Miller called the Governor’s actions “an outrageous attack on the City of New York” and went on to say that reneging on the debt relief would “blow up the City.” And Speaker Miller predicted, “If we do not get this relief, New York is once again facing doomsday.”

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