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De Blasio Furloughs Himself and His Entire Staff amid NYC Budget Crisis

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference for the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at City Hall in New York City, March 17, 2020. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will furlough himself and his City Hall staff for one week as the city weathers a budget crisis.

“We’ve already had to make some tough cuts,” de Blasio announced Wednesday morning. “We’re doing everything we can to stop those cuts from becoming worse.”

De Blasio, his wife first lady Chirlane McCray, and nearly 500 other staff members will take a week of unpaid furlough sometime between October and March 2021. The largely symbolic move is projected to save the city $860,000.

New York City is experiencing a $9 billion revenue loss due to the fiscal crisis in the city caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic mayor has pressured Albany unsuccessfully to allow the city to borrow more, while meanwhile Republicans and the Trump administration have rejected proposals by Democrats to send nearly $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments.

“I couldn’t have imagined no action from Washington D.C. up to this point,” de Blasio said. “I truly believed our colleagues in Albany would have acted on long-term bargaining.”

Last month, reports broke that de Blasio’s wife employs at least six staffers whose salaries are paid by taxpayers but are not listed on her official staff roster. The unlisted staffers include several who make six-figure salaries, and some were put on payrolls of other agencies within the city government.

The mayor said last month that he may be forced to lay off 22,000 city workers in October. In June, de Blasio warned it could take several years for the city’s economy to recover from the fiscal damage.

“It is really important to understand how tough this situation is and it’s not gonna get better in the short term. It’s gonna take a while for our economy to come back, it’s gonna take quite a while for our revenue to come back, so that is the blunt reality today,” the mayor said.

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