Giuliani took office declaring that city government was too big and taxes were too high. His first two budgets cut the headcount of city employees and reduced spending, setting the stage for both tax cuts and a series of surpluses.
The best that can be said of New York City's just-negotiated tentative contract with its principal public-employee union, District Council 37, is that it will expire relatively soon, in June 2002. Meanwhile, the agreement sets a costly precedent at a time when the city's budget picture is dimming.
New York's top congressional Democrats have given President Bush's ambitious plan for an across-the board tax cut a chilly reception. Senator Hillary Clinton warned that it "could derail the nation's economy and give New Yorkers higher interest rates and more unemployment."
In his budget message last month, Gov. Pataki called for constitutional reforms to control New York state's debt and ban non-voter-approved "back-door borrowing." But at the same time he quietly proposed a new form of back-door debt -- potentially the most significant change in the state's borrowing practices in decades.
Thirty-five years ago this week, New Yorkers awoke on a cold New Year's Day to find the city's bus and subway system at a standstill. The costly, two-week transit strike, which began the morning John V. Lindsay took office as mayor, inevitably was recalled among the low points of his tenure when he died last month.
Here's a conundrum: New York metro-region voters, who stand to lose the most if Al Gore becomes president, are among those most eager for the vice president to step into the top job.
Gore enjoys some of his strongest support in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
AL Gore: $500 billion in tax cuts. George W. Bush: $1.3 trillion. Hillary Clinton: $496 billion. Rick Lazio: $776 billion to more than $1 trillion, depending on whom you believe and how you count.
Saddled with yet another high-priced mandate from Albany, Mayor Giuliani and the City Council are rethinking their tax-cutting agenda. But curtailing tax cuts now would represent a step backward from policies that have contributed to the city's strongest private-sector employment growth in a half century.