Shant Shahrigian

While New York City mulls layoffs for teachers, first responders and nearly every city worker under the sun due to the economic chaos caused by coronavirus, the radio silence from Corey Johnson about his own pay is deafening.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday shrugged off a question about whether he’d take a pay cut as lawmakers hash out a budget with billions of dollars in proposed painful spending reductions.

“We’re happy to look at everything,” he said at a press conference. “It fits into the broader question of everything else that I talked about.”

Pressed on the matter, he said, “I’m not going to go item-by-item as part of the entire city budget.”

The comments echoed remarks from Mayor de Blasio, who said Wednesday he’s not planning salary cuts for himself or highly paid members of his administration.

Johnson earns $164,049 per year, according to the SeeThroughNY database; de Blasio, $258,541. Council members, who gave themselves a 32% raise in 2016, earn $148,500.

Top staffers rake in even more. Council Chief of Staff Jason Goldman earned $244,421 in 2019 and new Deputy Chief of Staff Genevieve Michel’s predecessor made $214,725, according to, which is run by the conservative Empire Center think tank.

De Blasio is seeking permission from Albany to borrow some $7 billion to cover a huge gap in the city budget. The move comes as President Trump and Senate Republicans have balked at requests to send billions of dollars in aid to localities.

De Blasio has warned of layoffs to first responders if the feds don’t come through.

Johnson said the agencies run by the mayor should make further cuts before the city takes on debt to cover operating expenses, which hasn’t been done since the aftermath of 9/11.

“We need to have every agency — and this should have happened already — go through the process of doing a … program identifying, I think, somewhere between 5 to 7% of cuts, cuts that are not going to affect vulnerable communities,” Johnson said.

De Blasio’s recently revised budget proposal included $800 million in cuts to the Education Department alone, a move that seemed sure to entail educator layoffs, critics said.

© 2020 New York Daily News

You may also like

Faced with $10B deficit, MTA says it’s eyeing cutting overtime spending

Alfonso Castillo The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is adding urgency to the agency’s efforts to curtail overtime numbers that critics say remain alarmingly high. The MTA said at Wed Read More

City and state officials contend with a dire future as New York reopens

Brian Pascus As New York begins to reopen from the Covid-19 lockdown, Read More

Pandemic, recession don’t bring down school budgets

Stephen T. Watson This year's school elections were delayed and then shifted entirely to voting by mail thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also shut down schools here and across the country. District officials worried this new method of Read More

Here’s Cuomo’s Plan for Reopening New York

Jesse McKinley ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday presented a soft blueprint for how New York State’s economy might begi Read More

States with few virus cases get big share of relief aid

Geoff Mulvihill Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming are not epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet these four states scored big this spri Read More

What to expect in the state’s first round of spending cuts

Rebecca Lewis Regular viewers of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus press briefings have heard the governor say time and again that New York state is broke. Revenue projections are way down and the state is facing a budget deficit that is Read More

Eyeing Medicaid Cuts, Cuomo Puts His Stamp On A $3 Trillion Stimulus Bill

Caroline Lewis During state budget discussions in March, Governor Andrew Cuomo  that the pandemic would not stop him from pushing through changes to Medicaid that he said were necessary to contain the growth of its more than $70 billion annu Read More

Hospitals, nursing homes face another Medicaid cut during pandemic

Michael Gormley ALBANY — The state told hospitals and nursing homes this week that they will be hit with another cut in Medicaid funding as the health care system reels from costs related to fighting the COVID-19 virus and state revenue plum Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130


The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.