Mayor Michael Bloomberg Warns of a Dangerous Threat to Cities

by Kris Venezia, Associated Press
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Mayor Bloomberg

flickr, makeroadssafe

Bloomberg calls pension costs a fiscal straight jacket.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leaving the nation's biggest mayoral job with a glowing view of the future of cities, but he's also issuing a stern warning that the city faces a dangerous threat: public worker pension, health care costs, and the politics around them. 

"It's a barrier that has come up again and again in my conversations with mayors around the country," Bloomberg said. "It's a barrier that has already bankrupted a number of cities. I'm talking, of course, about the explosion in the cost of pension and health care benefits for municipal workers." 

Bloomberg gave what's expected to be his last major speech Wednesday before the Economic Club of New York. He said pensions could have major consequences for cities across America. 

"We cannot blind ourselves to the obstacles that stand in the way," Bloomberg said. "Right now, our country appears to be in the early stages of a growing fiscal crisis that - if nothing is done - will extract a terrible toll on the next generation." 

According to the Bloomberg administration, pension costs have increased by 500 percent in New York City since the mayor took office 12 years ago. He said mayor-elect Bill de Blasio needs to reform labor contract with unions to protect the fiscal health of the city. 

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Bloomberg calls pension costs a fiscal straight jacket.

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