Gotbaum Hits Cuts to Her Office As "Payback from Speaker Quinn"
Therefore it is both refreshing and instructive to read today's statement from public advocate Betsy Gotbaum's office which begins:
"For the past 7 years, I have had to take part in a ridiculous annual budget dance with the two people who control my office's budget: the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council.
"Historically, the Mayor proposes cuts to the budget, and I negotiate with the Council Speaker to restore it. I have always said this is problematic because this is an independent office that is a check on government. The office should have an independent budget.
"This year, despite a vigorous attempt to restore our budget, I have been told that we are about to be hit with a 40 percent cut to our funding. I believe this is political payback from Speaker Quinn for my spirited opposition to extending term limits without a referendum. It's anti-democratic, bad government, and politics at its worst."
Then Gotbaum runs through a list of all the good things the PA does for "New Yorkers who are denied city services... with a budget that has been about half that of some borough presidents, just over $3 million at its height, or about 1/200 of 1% of the total city budget." She calls her office a "watchdog" over government, and says Bloomberg and Quinn are trying to "turn this watchdog into a lapdog."
Gotbaum points out that, despite the alleged austerity of the Bloomberg Administration, the city's spending has increased, the borough president's budgets have been restored, and "the council is spending almost $50 million on member items." In what we assume is a reference to the city council slush fund scandal, she suggests that Quinn could have found money for the public advocate's office "from wherever it is she is parking funds."