ALBANY — Mayor de Blasio got here below fireplace throughout a state finances listening to Monday for his continued help of embattled New York Metropolis Housing Authority Chairwoman Shola Olatoye.
Citing current scandals at NYCHA, State Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Catharine Younger (R-Olean) hammered de Blasio on why he had not changed Olatoye as head of the beleaguered housing company.
Younger went as far as to learn excerpts from quite a few media stories – together with a number of Day by day Information tales — detailing issues at NYCHA, together with buildings that lack warmth and the company’s failure to do correct lead testing.
“Respectfully Mr. Mayor I feel you might be defending the indefensible,” Younger mentioned.
De Blasio insisted NYCHA’s issues started earlier than his administration and Olatoye has been working to repair them.
“I stand by her as a result of she has achieved rather a lot for 400,000 individuals and she’s going to proceed to,” the mayor mentioned.
Younger, nonetheless, argued that NYCHA residents nonetheless dwell in unsafe situations and that Olatoye had falsely licensed to the federal authorities that lead inspections had taken place when she knew they’d not.
“I feel that somebody in the end must be held accountable for that,” Younger mentioned. “You appear to be laying the blame on everyone else,”
De Blasio remained steadfast, saying “it is extremely reductionist so as to add sure info up and say somebody must be dismissed.”
The questions on Olatoye got here throughout greater than three hours of testimony by de Blasio earlier than a joint Senate-Meeting listening to on Gov. Cuomo’s proposed finances.
De Blasio additionally confronted questions from Younger and different lawmakers concerning the metropolis’s unwillingness to offer further help for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“You mentioned at this time that you’ve a $5 billion surplus, and I do not perceive why town cannot contribute extra,” Younger mentioned.
De Blasio argued the state has the first accountability to fund the MTA and that town already gives $900 million a 12 months in direct funding and one other $900 million in companies, together with NYPD patrols, homeless outreach efforts and debt service.
“Let’s face it, the state has been working the MTA for many years now,” de Blasio unhappy.
De Blasio mentioned he nonetheless favors a millionaire’s tax to fund the MTA however famous the congestion pricing plan lately proposed by Cuomo’s Repair NYC panel was an enchancment over prior incarnations as a result of it didn’t name for tolls on the East River bridges.
The mayor, nonetheless, mentioned he nonetheless wanted assurances that the cash raised by way of congestion pricing can be used completely to fund town buses and subways.
After his finances testimony, de Blasio met privately with Cuomo for almost 90 minutes.
“We talked concerning the MTA for positive,” de Blasio instructed reporters afterward. “I feel the plan the governor’s fee got here out with was positively a step in the best path and higher than the earlier plans however there’s a lot we nonetheless need to work by way of.”
General, de Blasio instructed lawmakers that Cuomo’s finances would value town almost $750 million by way of a mix of unfunded state mandates and funding cuts, together with reductions to housing, particular training and juvenile justice applications.
A Cuomo administration spokesman rejected de Blasio’s declare.
“Whereas closing a $four.four billion hole, this 12 months’s finances sends $16.5 billion in support to town — greater than 40% of funding awarded to all native governments and a virtually half billion greenback improve over final 12 months,” mentioned Morris Peters, a spokesman for Cuomo’s finances division. “The state’s finances features a $248 million improve within the metropolis’s college support, $212 million extra for the state takeover of Medicaid bills, and $60 million in further tax income — calling this vital improve a lower is disingenuous and town ought to examine its math.”