Pandemic May Force New York City To Lay Off 22,000 Workers

With the coronavirus diverting up to $ 9 billion in New York City tax revenue, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday morning that the city may have to fire or suspend 22,000 city workers this fall.

“We are running out of options here,” said the mayor. “That is the overwhelming truth.”

Mr. de Blasio described the layoffs and leave as a potentially necessary move in light of the substantial budget deficits caused by the sharp decline in business activity from the pandemic.

As the pandemic has continued to paralyze New York’s economy, the administration’s estimates of its own budget deficit have continued to rise, forcing the city to plan spending cuts in numerous areas. The mayor said the administration was now looking for another $ 1 billion in savings.

De Blasio said he was speaking to municipal labor unions in hopes of finding savings that foresee the layoffs of a city workforce of 326,000 by the end of 2019, according to the Citizen Budget Commission.

He has also sought Albany’s authority to take on debts for operating costs, though state lawmakers seem reluctant to grant him that authority.

On Monday, the mayor suggested it would be foolish to expect further relief from Washington lawmakers.

“For weeks and weeks, we all hoped that there would already be a federal stimulus plan,” said Mr. de Blasio. “It is pretty clear that this is not happening.”