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De Blasio said he was open to negotiating the issue when he was seeking labor support to secure the nomination. More recently, hes questioned whether the city could afford retroactive compensation, after winning endorsements from most city unions. We have to balance our budget; everyone in labor knows it, de Blasio said last week during a news briefing. And that $8 billion figure that assumes full retroactive pay, Ive said very publicly thats not going to happen. In another challenge, the cost of worker and retiree health insurance, now about $6 billion, will rise to $8.3 billion by 2018 unless workers start paying part of their premiums, Bloomberg has said. School Plan De Blasios signature issue, a tax surcharge on income above $500,000 to raise $530 million for universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, was belittled by his primary rivals. They argued the increase wouldnt win approval from the state legislature and governor. Universal pre-kindergarten would cost about $290 million annually, with a start-up cost of about $50 million for new classrooms, according to the Independent Budget Office, a city agency that acts as a non-partisan fiscal monitor. Lhota says that although he supports universal pre-school, financing it through a tax increase on the wealthiest New Yorkers runs the risk of slowing the citys economy. Universal pre-school is the right thing to do, Lhota said during a Sept. 13 appearance on WPIX television. Yet he disagrees that the city should raise taxes to pay for it. Lhota hasnt proposed an alternative funding stream. We have daunting fiscal challenges ahead and it is critical the next mayor have the experience and wherewithal to keep the citys finances sound, Lhota said in a statement yesterday.

New York City Air Quality The Best In 50 Years, Announces Mayor Bloomberg

“Our PlaNYC agenda set an ambitious goal of having the cleanest air among the largest U.S. cities,” BLoomberg said at a Climate Week event in the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. “Today’s results show that we have already made major progress towards that goal, which is saving lives and improving the health of New Yorkers.” In the city’s Community Air Survey , officials found that levels of sulfur dioxide in the air have dropped by 69 percent since 2008 and the level of soot pollution in the air has dropped by 23 percent thanks, in large part, to PlaNYC’s Clean Heat program, which was aimed at reducing pollution heavy heating oils. Clean Heat was successful thanks to three key reforms: decreased amounts of toxic heating oils, lowered sulfur content in heating oils and expanded natural gas supplies and local gas distribution. Over 2,700 polluting buildings have phased out toxic heating oils as of 2011 and there are currently 2,500 buildings working on conversions, even though the estimated 10,000 buildings in the city that burn toxic heating oils have until 2030 to make their reforms. The cleaner air, Bloomberg said, is estimated to prevent as much as 800 deaths and 2,000 hospital visits due to lung and cardiovascular diseases annually, compared to 2008 records. Manhattan, northern Queens and the South Bronx achieved the greatest improvement in air quality through natural gas conversions. “The substantial reductions in air pollution we’re seeing translate into healthier New Yorkers who are breathing cleaner air,” said Michael Seilback, Vice President for Public Policy and Communications at the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “As more buildings convert to cleaner burning fuels, we will see even greater health benefits.” To capitalize off of this momentum, the Department of Environment Protection also sent a proposed update to New York City’s Air Code to the City Council. If enacted, this update will be the first major revision to the code in 38 years. The new code will update emission standards and focus on the most notorious sources of pollution like commercial cooking establishments.