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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 21:46 GMT
New York austerity plan unveiled
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg's cuts are expected to face severe opposition

New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has outlined a sweeping plan to raise taxes and reduce the city's workforce in an attempt to close a $1bn budget deficit.

New York fire engine
Eight fire houses are due to be closed
Next year, the city faces even deeper financial trouble with a possible $6bn shortfall.

With a downturn in the economy, New York is now facing its worst fiscal crisis since the mid-1970s.

Mr Bloomberg says he expects everyone here to bear the burden of his proposed cuts.

Savings pressure

In a controversial move, he wants people who live outside the city but travel into New York for work to pay a special commuter tax.

Across the city, property taxes will go up by 25%, the maximum rise permitted by state law.

He also wants to pare down the city's workforce by cutting 8,000 jobs.

There will be 2,000 fewer police officers and eight fewer fire houses, as well as the closure of more than 30 senior citizens' centres.

The mayor said lay-offs would be a last resort, but he is under severe pressure to make enormous savings.

Mr Bloomberg's blamed the city's economic downturn on the deep tax cuts enacted by the former mayor Rudy Giuliani, the 11 September attacks and the falling stock market.

But it is clear there will be stiff opposition to many of his proposals.

See also:

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