Mayor Bloomberg was screaming highway robbery after Albany announced the city would get $1.9 billion in the first allocation of federal stimulus funds – at least $200 million less than he was counting on.
“The mayor has repeatedly said he was concerned that federal stimulus money meant for the city would get lost in Albany, and we are already seeing a clear example,” declared Stu Loeser, the mayor’s spokesman.
At issue is $2.7 billion in federal stimulus funds for Medicaid relief being distributed to counties around the state over the next 27 months.
City officials said they should have gotten at least $2.1 billion. Loeser said that by chopping the allocation, the state was effectively eliminating a deal cut in 2005 that capped Medicaid spending for all municipalities at 3 percent a year.
But Bloomberg has little leverage to extract the extra $200 million.
All three state leaders – Gov. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith – joined in proclaiming the federal Medicaid package a godsend to localities.
Silver said the federal funds would “hopefully put the brakes on further cuts to essential services people rely on.”
Aides said the mayor was so confident the Medicaid funds would come in at $2 billion over 24 months, or $2.1 billion over 27 months, that he included that sum in his latest budget.
Bloomberg has warned that layoffs are the only alternative if the city doesn’t get the money it needs from Albany.
(Source: NY Post)