New York City is in dire financial straits because of the coronavirus pandemic and will go bankrupt if the situation isn’t addressed, according to a former deputy mayor.
In a radio show interview with John Catsimatidis "The Cat's Roundtable" on WABC 770 AM-N.Y.aired Sunday, Randy Levine, currently president of the New York Yankees, said “good financial footing” has to be restored.
“Because of the pandemic, because of what’s happened here, the fiscal situation in the city is really, really bleak. It hasn’t gotten the attention that it deserves,” Levine said in comments posted by The Hill.
“If this city is not on good financial footing, then nothing else can happen,” he said, adding: “If you don’t solve this problem, then nothing happens. The city will go bankrupt.”
Levine served as the deputy mayor for economic development, planning and administration from 1997 to 2000.
The city has doled out $5.2 billion to deal with the pandemic, including paying for ventilators, food assistance, testing and reopening schools with COVID-19 precautions, the New York Times reported, and is facing a $4 billion budget gap.
“We have giant out-year budget deficits. The private sector is shrinking. Businesses are closing,” Levine said. “People can’t pay their mortgages, their rent. Real estate is depressed.”
“If you don’t fix [the budget] you’ll have no city services,” he added. “If we have a city that goes bankrupt, then there’s going to be chaos.”
“We’ve got to reduce the size of the city government in a planned way,” Levine argued, adding that this includes reducing the number of city employees, selling unused city property and focusing on funding for “core services.”
Since COVID-19 first ravaged the city in the spring, Broadway shows, restaurants and other tourist attractions have been forced to shut down, leading to 896,000 private sector jobs lost between February and April, according to the city comptroller’s office.
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