New York (AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday unveiled what he called a "budget full of difficult decisions" that includes the loss of more than 6,000 teachers.
Other city funding cuts would include 15 percent for parks and recreation, nearly 12 percent for libraries and 9 percent for the children's services agency. The fire department would take about a 2 percent hit, and the police department would lose about 1 percent of its city funding.
"These are still very tough times for many New Yorkers, which makes the decisions in this budget even more difficult," Bloomberg said. "Our goal is to make sure we continue to have a strong city, and that we protect vital services and the social safety net that keep our communities healthy."
The independent mayor must negotiate with the City Council to pass a balanced budget by June.
"We are forced to do the best we can with what we've got," Bloomberg said. "The state has shifted the burden from them to us."
Bloomberg said that while the proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 "presents a balanced budget, New York City will still face budget gaps of approximately $4.8 billion in Fiscal Year 2013, $5.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 and $5.3 billion Fiscal Year 2015."
The mayor said in his speech that he expected criticism. The teachers' union promptly complied.
"Same smoke, same mirrors, same attempt to blame others for his decision to lay off thousands of teachers, despite increased state aid, hundreds of millions in new revenues and a surplus that has grown to more than $3.2 billion," United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement.