This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Our city budget.
La Guardia explains his city budget presented to the Board of Estimate and explains the budgetary process, tax revenues, etc. Detailed review of his recommended budget appropriations for police, fire dept., hospitals, health services, medical examiner, health insurance, welfare department, parks and schools, libraries, museums, purchase department, coffee, typewriter repair, cannery, water, courts, sheriff, elections, radio, commerce, licenses.
Concludes with WNYC announcer.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 9233
Municipal archives id: LT2522
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 1945
CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
TEXT OF MAYOR F. H. LA GUARDIA'S SUNDAY BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK FROM HIS OFFICE AT CITY HALL, APRIL 8, 1945, BROADCAST OVER WNYC AT 1:00 P.M. FOLLOWS:
Patience and Fortitude.
I am going to talk to you today about the City Budget. Oh, yes, you will understand it; it is very easy. It is very much like arranging your own family budget. You just must know how much you have to spend.
First of all, let me tell you how the budget is made up. During the year the Bureau of the Budget under the Director of the Budget keeps a very careful account of city monies, observes the operation of all City departments and all expenditures. Toward the end of the fiscal year, the Budget Director holds hearings and receives estimates from the various departments, i.e., he ascertains how much each department believes it will need for the next year. When the Director of the Budget is ready, he presents his estimate to the Mayor. It is the responsibility of the Mayor, fixed by the City Charter, to submit the Executive Budget to the Board of Estimate. Therefore, the Mayor must know what it is all about otherwise every department, you know, may ask for more money than we have. Well, I do not know how other Mayors do it, but I will just tell you how I do it.
The first thing that I do is to make an estimate based upon the assessed valuation of real property, which I receive from the Tax Department and see how much money or how much revenue we will have for the next year.
When I know that, then we look into the requests from the various departments and adjust them accordingly. You see, it is necessary to have a well-balanced government and if one is not careful, it is quite possible to give one department more than its just share. And it is not always uniform either, because sometimes, according to conditions, one department may need more than its usual amount While at other times it can economize. So we must maintain a well-balanced City government.
EXPENSE BUDGET ESTIMATE
Now, then, let us look into next year. Our fiscal year starts on July 1st. It will cost $751,527,715 to run this City next year. That is about $2,000,000 a day. Well, it is a big City. It is the biggest City in the world now and it has the greatest government. Bear that figure in mind - $751,527,715. That is the budget which I presented to the Board of Estimate. It will commence Public Hearings tomorrow. The Board, of course, may amend the Mayor's budget - it may take out items, it may increase items, and it may reduce items. When the Board is finished on a certain date, it goes to the City council and the City Council has the power to reduce only - it cannot add nor can it increase.
Now, who is going to pay the bill. You are - every one of you. Oh; do not say that you do not pay taxes because you do not own the house you live in. Oh, yes, you do. You pay it and nobody else does. Our revenue is composed of real estate taxes which we get from real estate within the City, and a share of state taxes and state aid for relief, welfare and education. Before we see how much you and I are going to spend next year, just let me tell you how much your share will be. This is an estimate of what each one of you will pay based upon the tentative assessed valuation of $15,937,144,187 and a tax rate of 2.66. That is tentative because, as I say, the Board of Estimate may decrease or increase my estimate.
If you pay $30 a month rent, your tax for the entire year out of your rent money will be $79.80. If your rent is $40 a month, your tax out of your rent will be $106.40 per year. If you pay $50 a month rent, your tax for the year will be $133, so that out of the $50 a month that you pay your landlord, he will pay $133 a year to the City for taxes. If it is $60 a month, your tax will be $159.60 a year; $70 a month, $186.20 a year; $75 a month, $199.50 a year; out of $80 a month rent, $212.80 a year goes for the maintenance of your city government. If you pay $100 a month, $266 will go for City taxes. Now if you pay more than $100 a month, multiply it in the ratio which you pay more and you will find out just how much you pay. Thus you see that you rent-payers pay taxes just as much as if you were living in your own houses.
Let me put it another way, let us assume that you are renting a house for $50 a month which is assessed by the City for taxable purposes at $5,000 a year. As already indicated, the rent would be $600 and you would pay $133 a year. If you live in your own house assessed at $5,000, you pay $133, if the tax rate is 2.66 as estimated.
As I have just stated, most of the revenue comes from real estate and the rate is fixed on the value of the property. Every year the City assesses the valuation, and that is very important. Between 1930 and 1952, before I took office, the total assessed valuation of taxable property was $18,583,987,402. We have reduced that to $15,937,144,187. Hence, every billion less is just that much less money that the City can collect in taxes, and that makes my job every year increasingly difficult. I hope you will bear that in mind since we must assess at the value of property and there are always complaints that the assessment is too high, Well, you rent payers are paying it and you are entitled to know just how the property is assessed and how we are spending our money.
As I told you, it is not difficult to make the budget. There are three major divisions of the entire budget. You take Police, Fire, Sanitation, Hospitals, and that is one group; then take Education, that is by itself, and then the Debt Service. Now, what is the debt service? I will have to refer to it from time to time, so see if I can explain it to you.
All permanent public improvements, such as public buildings, water supply and subways, are constructed with money that the City borrows for the approximate time of the usefulness of the public improvement. For instance, suppose we build a Court House and the estimated life of that Courthouse is 50 years, we go out and borrow money to be paid back in 50 years and we issue bonds. Of course, it is easy to borrow money, but just like you and me and everybody else, when you borrow money, you have to pay it back. That is why we must watch that all of the time since it is very easy to borrow, but very hard to pay back. So every year, we must provide in the budget the interest for the money that we borrow and then set aside every year enough to pay the bonds when they mature, or each year in accordance with the nature of the bond that was issued. That is called the debt service. All it is, is the interest and the amortization, paying back on account of money used for permanent public improvements. That item alone will be $173,691,030 this year. That is the debt service, that is for interest and amortization. The City has an outstanding indebtedness of $2,904,266,263. That seems a lot for a city, doesn't it. But it isn't because as against that, $1,141,723,990 is spent for subway construction and that is probably an asset that we have against this money that we owe.
On water supply, i.e., for building our water supply system, there is outstanding $561,525,283. So when you add the transit bonds and the water supply bonds, you see that we have very little outstanding bonded indebtedness and that there is full value for the water supply and the subway property. So that if we were to apply to the S.E.C., we could get a "Triple A" rating because we are as solvent as any going concern could possibly be. There is actual property in back of every cent that we owe.
TRANSIT COSTS AND DEBT
I just told you that there is $1,141,723,990 of outstanding bonds for our subway construction and that is always very timely because this year in the debt service we must provide for a $47,649,131 deficit in our subway operations. That means that while we take in enough money to pay for all the operation expense and $9,000,000 toward the amortization and interest of buldng the subways, we are $47,649,131 short in meeting all the carrying charges. That means that if you pay $30 a month rent, you are paying out of your $79 a year tax, $8.78 for the deficit of the subways; if you are paying $40 a month rent, you are paying $11.70 a year for the deficit; if you are paying $50, $14.63; if you are paying $75 you are paying $21.95 a year for the subway deficit; if you are paying $80 a month rent, you pay $23.41 for the subway deficit, and if you are paying $100 you are paying $29.26 for the subway deficit. So that will give you a picture of just how you, as taxpayers, whether direct or indirect, pay for the subway deficit.
This year, of course, the contribution toward interest and amortization from the operation surplus of the subways is less because Chairman Delaney of the Board of Transportation has recommended the allowance of increases in the pay of the operation and maintenance employees of the Rapid Transit service in Brooklyn and of the subways throughout the City. $1,717,850 was required to pay the salary increment increases and that affects 17,264 employees; readjustment of the lowest rate and making the lowest rate 70 cents an hour required 138,800; increase in hourly top rates of five cents per hour which affects $14,000 more employees was $1,765,500; an increase of top hourly rates affecting 630 of the next immediate supervisory staff $31,500, an increase in payroll of $3,703,550. That was found necessary in order to bring the rates up to those paid by the leading railroads in the country. And do not forget that our subway system is the biggest railroad in the world. There is no railroad anywhere in the world that carries as many passengers. We carry more passengers in one day than many railroads carry in a year - we carry over 6,000,000 passengers a day, so that it is quite an undertaking. Well, as I told you, that is one classification that makes quite a large dent in the budget, i.e. the debt service.
The appropriations that I recommend for the Police Department for this year is $70,264,889. Full fledged Patrolmen this year, as you know, will receive a salary of $3,426. We have 14,596 men in the Uniformed Force and 928 in the Armed Services. We have been able to absorb the shortage by mechanizing a great many of the services. We have been short in getting equipment too, but the Police Department is one Department that everyone in New York may well be proud. They are doing excellent work under very difficult conditions. So the Police Department next year will cost $70,264,889.
The Fire Department has an authorized strength of 10,001. It has 1,723 in military service and it is down to 7,754 men. The budget next year that I recommend for this Department is $39,391,833. You can see how these things pile up, you get $173,000,000 in one place, $70,000,000 and $39,000,000 in others. It just counts up. I have provided in this year's budget for equipment that we have not been able to buy for the Fire Department for some time. I believe that we have provided enough, i.e., as much as may be available next year and then we may get some surplus supplies from the government. I believe that fire equipment designs will change a great deal before long because of the actual experience gained in this war, and, therefore, I have no fear that we may not be able to keep our Fire Department very splendidly equipped. As you know, we may make many changes in that. When I first took office, the manufacturers used to draw the specifications and the manufacturer who was in right with the politicians at the time, would get the contract. Well, I changed that situation.
I have recommended $34,446,703 for the Sanitation Department. We have 1,127 men in the armed service, and 9,238 on the job and those men are doing a good job. I recommended increases in their salaries, so that the Class C men (Collection Truck Drivers and Loaders) will get $2,400 a year, and the Class B men (Street Sweepers and Dump Laborers) will get $2,280 a year. I have also recommended cost-of-living bonuses to equalize the salary of other Class B and C men doing the same class of work. Our City, I am quite sure, has the highest paid Sanitation Men in the country and they have a very difficult task and they are doing a splendid job under very difficult conditions.
DEPARTMENT OF HOSPITALS
As to hospitals, I just cannot tell you the headaches that we have and how difficult it is to keep our hospitals going. That applies not only to City hospitals but to voluntary hospitals too, with the Army and the Navy taking a large number of nurses. They need them. They have also taken a large number of doctors and they must have them. It is so difficult to find personnel to keep the hospitals going. Commissioner Bernecker has done a splendid piece of work and we are very proud of our record. The appropriation that I recommend next year for our hospitals is $36,216,072. We maintain 20,574 beds. We now have 17,044 employees, but there are 6,029 vacancies because our normal strength of employees is 23,073. I am very proud of this increase. Of, yes, I can hear those penny pinchers saying: "La Guardia is wasting money; he is extravagant; our tax bills are going up." Of course, they are going to go up. Listen to this. I am proud of this. In 1933, the total cost for hospitals was $16,985,409. In 1939-40, that is five years after I took office, it went up to $23,443,011. Last year it was $35,737,839. Now it is $36,216,072. and I make no apologies. When I took office, there were several thousand employees in the hospitals getting $30 a month and others getting $20 a month. The hospitals were overcrowded. We have built several new hospitals. We treat our patients properly now. We give them the best of medical care and the best of surgical services. Yes, I kicked out the politicians who controlled these hospitals. They are out, right out. Hospitals are now administered by Medical Boards, entirely under the control of medical men. We found it necessary to increase many schedules in wages from 1942 to 1945; the increases run from 33% to 111%, but it was just necessary. I do not claim that we pay enough now for hospital personnel, but we cannot go too fast because we must consider the voluntary hospitals too, and they are in a bad plight. It cost us about $7 a day for every patient that we have in our City hospitals. That is quite high. I would say that hospital administration has increased about 300% in the last ten years.
Next, I think, I will discuss Health. There, too, there has been an increase in service. In 1933, just before I took office, the appropriation was $4,725,762. This year, I am recommending $5,900,447. Of course, there has been a complete transformation in our Health Service. We know that the Hospital Department that I have told you about is where we cure people. The Health Department job is to prevent people from getting sick. That costs a lot of money. We have to observe the trends of contagious diseases and the Department provides scrums and vaccines for immunization. It has Health Centers. You know that we built a chain of Health Centers throughout the city since 1934 and you can see the results. Some people will say that we are spending a great deal for our Health Department, but there is gratification when, after midnight on the last day of the year, the Health Commissioner rings up and says, "Mr. Mayor, I am ready with my report and I will have it all tabulated by 12 o'clock tomorrow". At that time he gives you and shows you the decrease in infant mortality and the decrease in maternity mortality and the low death rate. There is a great deal of gratification in that and that is why when some people ask me, "How can you stand all the abuse that you get around budget time," I say, "You become sort of immune to that". Hence you get so much gratification and satisfaction in seeing results that you do not pay much attention to these people, especially when they are not informed.
I am very happy to know that the Medical Societies have approved of my recommendation for limited tenure for Doctors in the clinics. That is splendid. I have been urging that for 12 years. It is very helpful and I want to thank the Medical Societies. They complained about the low rate of pay to the Doctors who attend the clinics. Well, it is not pay. You know, at one time, there was no pay for such services. Quite right, the rate is very low, but it is not considered compensation at all. It is just part of the public service that these Doctors are rendering while their colleagues are at war. When the war is over and those doctors come back, we will have an entirely different plan. We know that we will have the very best of Doctors with experience to attend the clinics that we have and over which there has been so much complaint regarding low salaries. I appreciate the very intelligent understanding of the Medical Societies and I just want to assure them that I know that it is not full compensation. The few Doctors that have remained, that are not in the Army and the Navy, have been very busy with their private practice and I am sure that they will not begrudge the City the services that they are rendering at this time. I want to repeat that we have an entirely different
and complete new plan for when the war is over and we will remove the cause of complaint.
The Office of the Medical Examiner will receive next year $207,950. I can hear many of you say, "What is the Medical Examiner?" Well, you do not hear much about this office and I hope that you will not have anything to do with it either. The Medical Examiner is vested with the responsibility of ascertaining the cause of death of every case that is not the result of natural causes, i.e., death caused by violence or by accident or for unknown reasons. That office is required to examine every body where death is from anything but natural causes and ascertain the cause. It is a highly scientific Department. I remember when I was President of the Board of Aldermen, 25 years ago, the coroners were going out of the system. The coroner was some fat politician who had influence to get himself elected, but who did not know anything about medicine or pathology or anything else. He knew when a man was dead, or somebody said he was dead, and he would sign a certificate. But that is over and we have a highly scientific department. We are providing some new equipment, but that is not enough what we are doing. In a few years this Department will be something entirely different from what exists in the entire world. Of course the Capitol Budget provides for a Forensic Medicine Institute, which will house this department and there will be a scientific approach and study of the causes of death by accidents and violence. Information is constantly given to the Police Department, which is very helpful in the apprehension of criminals and in determining the cause of death, as well as for getting experience for safety appliances in factories as well as in traffic.
HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN
I provided in the budget for $500,000. as a total appropriation to take care of the City's contribution for our Health Insurance Plan. You heard me talk about that so often that you know all about it. As I have said so many times, a major disease or an operation in the family throws that family budget out of gear for a year, sometimes two years with people getting in debt, and everyone just dreads it. The Health Insurance Plan will provide medical service in the doctor's office or in the hospital complete medical care for the entire family, I hope that all City employees in all the Departments will join, the City will pay half of the cost. Of course, the plan is not in operation yet. I hope to have it in operation by January 1st 1946, and this will take care of such groups for the remainder of the fiscal year, that will join the service as soon as it gets into operation. This will relieve one source of worry of every City employee, as he will know then that every member of his family will receive the best of medical and surgical care. And then, of course, private employers, in keeping with the trend of the times, will join for their employees and their families. Governor Dewey has just signed a bill, making it permissive for any City to have its employees join the Health Insurance Plan and to contribute towards its cost. Everybody, of course, is very appreciative for that great assistance.
Now we come to the Welfare Department. The appropriation there is $70,257,873 but, of course, you must know that there is part contribution from the Federal and the State governments in this item. This money is for Home Relief, i.e., relief to people of families who are destitute because of unemployment; for the Aged, superannuated men and women; as well as for Dependent Children and for the Blind. It has jumped quite a bit too in recent years, because the trend of the times is that no one should go hungry, and we are very proud of that. There is no reason for any man, woman, or child to beg in New York City, because if they are destitute, we take care of them.
Recently it has become fashionable for people to talk a great deal about our children. Well, we are very much interested in our children. All sorts of recommendations are made and there are all sorts of hobbies. Well, do you know what the expense is for child care, and this does not include education - $26,303,102. It was $20,708,152 in 1933 when I took office; now it is $26,303,102. The appropriation that I recommend for next year for Home Relief is $14,705,000. That is just a guess. If the war should stop and we do not get back to peacetime production and we have unemployment, it would mean nothing. If we have inflation, all the figures that I give you will be worth nothing. So this $14,705,000 is a tentative figure for Home Relief. The Governor's Committee, as you know, has recommended an 80% contribution, commencing January 1st. We are taking that into account and have appropriated accordingly. We have reasonable assurance that the Legislature will approve that at the Special Session. Veteran Relief in this budget is $1,610,000; Blind Assistance $1,204,000 and Old Age Assistance $25,205,000. I am giving you the totals.
Here is how the money for Child Care is spent. Care and Maintenance of Dependent children, 2 to 18 years of age, in institutions and family boarding houses - $6,578,000. Infants under 2 years of age, and infants in general hospitals under the age of 5 - $671,500. Care and maintenance of delinquent children - $640,000. Preventorium treatment for children - $98,000. Orthopedic treatment for children ”” $1110,000. Maintenance and treatment of physically handicapped children - $150,000. Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - $102,500., and Sundry-blind and feeble minded, cardiac treatment, etc. - $150,000. The Department of Health, Bureau of Child Hygiene - $890,000. Aid to Dependent Children, that used to be called Widow's Pension -$14,104,000. School lunches - $966,000. Mothers' Aides - $62,000. The Division of Wartime Care of Children - $1,283,650. Children's Courts -$497,452. Total - $26,303,102.
Mothers' Aides in something new. It is highly experimental and I do not know whether or not it will work, but we are going to try it. You see, very often we are called in and have to take care of children whose mother has become sick or disabled. There is just a temporary dislocation in the home, and we take these children in and give them temporary sheltering care. Some private institutions have experimented, but I do not know whether or not it will work with us, whereby instead of taking the children when the conditions are temporary, these Mothers' Aides go into the home and keep home for the children during working hours when the father is away. Great care will have to be exercised in the selection of these Mothers' Aides. I can not imagine any position that would require greater care in the selection. If it works, we will increase the service, and if it does not, it will, of course, have to be discontinued.
I told you about providing an allowance to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, but I have only made provision for six months. There may be some opposition to that. You will remember that some time ago, we established the Youth Center, to shelter the boys who were remanded by the Childrens' Court, awaiting commitment to a State Institution. That has worked out very well, and I like the arrangement. It is costly but it went far. We find now we can not get foster homes for children rapidly enough. Therefore, we have to provide for temporary shelter. What I plan to do is this. First the Youth Center will move up to the SPCC building in Manhattan. The SPCC has been very generous in giving the facilities and the building for $1.00 a year. This is very much appreciated. I am recommending to the Board of Estimate the purchase of the Heckseher Building for delinquent children and that would give us a beautiful plant. But don't you see that if we provide for these children, we cannot provide for shelter in the various SPCCs? We should make some arrangement, on a per diem basis, to take care of the overflow. You know the City pays $9.00 a week for every child placed in a foster home.
I have made one plea for foster homes and the response was very encouraging. But it takes so long to investigate these homes, which is the responsibility of the private organizations and I keep bothering them and bothering them, but it does take a long time. I hope that that condition will improve.
You know all about Parks and about Robert Moses. In 1933, the appropriation was $5,274,000 and I am recommending in the coming year's budget, $10,331,958. You are getting your money's worth. No doubt about that. Just look at the figures of reduction of traffic accidents for children and you will see whether it is worth while.
One big item in the budget, as I told you, is Education. The total budget on Education, excluding Higher Education is $185,638,409. That is a lot of money. Of this, $141,461,906 is for Educational Activities, pay of Teachers, maintenance of buildings and supplies. The health service is $1,359,655; light and power, which does not appear in the school budget, is $1,305,500; and pension contributions, which is part of the pay of the Teachers, is $17,002,970, a total of $185,638,409. In 1933 the total budget was $129,814,992. I do not think that that included the pension contributions. This year we are providing $7,404,112 for the cost-of-living bonuses to the Teachers. Dissatisfaction has been expressed, but that was all that we could possibly assign for cost-of-living bonuses for that Department - that is, $7,404,112. We have 30,162 teachers, 920 buildings, 18,792 Elementary and Junior High School classes and 7,100 High School classes. Eliminating the total cost of the Department of Education, and just taking in the cost of the teachers, it cost $132.58 a year for every child in Elementary School, $133.30 for every child in Junior High School and $192.73 for every student in Senior High School. But taking the total cost of Education, and that is what you and I are concerned about in that money which you pay every year and which I told you about, the average cost per child in Elementary and Junior High and for every student in High School is $216.55. Of course, with a budget of that kind, you are naturally interested in knowing where the money goes. I gave you the number of teachers. In New York City we pay, I believe, the highest wages for teachers of any City in the United States, certainly for any large City in the United States. There are one or two small Cities that may pay a little more. Ordinarily the entrance salary of a qualified teacher, starting at kindergarten and up to 6B is $1,608. With the bonus we start at $1,848 and they reach a maximum of $3,630, i.e. teachers that teach from kindergarten up to 6B and reach the top grade in 13 years. That is more than Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, or Los Angeles pays. In Newark they pay $70 a year more but it takes 17 years to reach the top of the grade. So it may properly be said that starting now at $1,848 and reaching the top of $3,630 for a teacher from kindergarten to 6B, is the top salary paid in the Country. In Day, Academic and Vocational High Schools, in our City with the bonus, teachers now start at $2,388 and reach $4,740 in 15 years, i.e. with bonus. And that is way above Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and St. Louis and quite a bit more than Detroit, Chicago or Los Angeles. Assistant Principals in New York with the bonus, start at $3,840 and reach up to $4,860 in six years and that is higher than any paid in the Country. In Elementary Schools, Principals start at $5,240 and reach a maximum of $7,000 in nine years. That is from $2,000 to $3,000 above any of the above mentioned cities, except Newark which also reaches $7,000, but in fourteen years. High School principals start at $7,500. That is the permanent salary for Schools that have less than 50 classes, and we have very few of those. But otherwise they start at $8,500 and roach $10,000 a year in four years, i.e., the bulk of our Principals. Our Superintendent of Schools gets $25,000 a year; Philadelphia, $17,000; Chicago, $15,000; Detroit, $14,000; Buffalo, $12,000; Los Angeles, $14,000; and Newark, $13,500. As I stated in my Budget Message, the Legislature has recently given added responsibilities and powers to the Superintendent of Schools and we hope that we will get some very much needed reorganization. So, I am very happy to be able to say that we have the highest teachers' wage salary rates in the entire country.
A great deal has been said about the bonus. To what we have allowed, I have recommended to the Board of Estimate $240 a year for all teachers reaching up to and including $5,000. Philadelphia has allowed $250 for teachers getting $1,500 and under $200 for all others; Chicago, none; Detroit, none to date; Buffalo, from $240 to $150; Los Angeles, $25 per month and Newark, $100 a year for teachers receiving less than $5,000.
I have often said that I believe that for the pay that the city provides for teachers, we are entitled to the very best in the entire world. Therefore, we should not continue teachErs on the payroll who are superannuated, and I mean physically superannuated. Although they may retire at 70 years of age many people become old before they are 70 and when a teacher is physically or mentally incapacitated she should retire. Generous provisions are made for retirement.
The Teachers Retirement Fund has a reserve of $291,383,756 and it is simply unpardonable to maintain, for sentimental reasons, for friendship or other reasons, any teacher in the classroom who is mentally or physically incapacitated. Last year and the year before a little progress was made in retiring a number of teachers and I want to urge the Beard of Education to give this constant attention as there is nothing more important than the safety, the comfort and the cheerfulness of the children in the classroom.
The City pays for the very best for its children and the children should get it. We have some excellent schools in our City and we have some excellent teachers. I want to see all of our schools excellent and all of our teachers excellent.
For the Board of Higher Education, which includes Hunter, CCNY, Brooklyn College and Queens College, $10,154,963 was recommended. In 1933 its budget was $7,107,134. As I stated in my Budget Message, I would like to see the four Colleges merged with one Chancellor and have a great College of the City of New York. If you read my Budget Message, you will find more details about it.
We are providing $4,167,720 for the libraries. This is an increase of nearly $1,000,000 over last year. We have increased the salaries of Librarians as they were woefully underpaid. While the minimum pay was $1440 it is now $1740 at entrance; the second grade is $1980; the third grade is $2400 and the fourth grade is $2760. I say that because in this instance, there has been some misinformation given to the librarians. I notice that you are running an ad in the papers, well just get the right figures and do not let anybody fool you or say that they are getting something for you that is not in the budget now. Let me repeat those figures, Librarians, because I like librarians very much. The entrance salary with the bonus now is $1,740, the next grades are $1,980, $2,400 and $2,760.
We are appropriating $2,052,331 for the Museums - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, N. Y. Botanical Garden, American Museum of Natural History, the N. Y. Zoo, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Children's Museum, Central Museum, Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, Staten Island Zoo, Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences and the Museum of the City of New York. We have great Museums.
Of course as time goes on, we certainly miss Mr. Blumenthal, who was the President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He gave unselfish and devoted services to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I would like to see F. Trubec Davison come back to the Museum of Natural History. He is in the Service now. Although he was badly injured in the last War he was able to get back this time and we miss him. Of course; I do not know what we would do if it wore not for Bob Moses. He just transformed the Bronx Zoo and did a great job.
The Department of Purchase is an interesting Department although you do not hear much about it. I recommended an appropriation of $1,644,415. That Department normally goes out and buys supplies costing from $35,000,000 to $40,000,000 every year. That does not include supplies for the Department of Education. They do not buy through central purchases - they like to pay more for their supplies. There is nothing that I can do about it because the law says that they have to buy their own supplies. So we will just continue that way. In any event we have been able to absorb in the Purchase Department increased cost of supplies and food because of scientific and intelligent buying. And you know it buys almost a hundred thousand different items every year for City institutions in addition to supplies and materials to run the City government. It has storehouses and it knows what is in every storehouse.
When I took office there were about 135 storehouses and none had a complete inventory. Each Department would buy and buy and buy and had a lot of junk on hand and a lot of supplies that deteriorated and just wasted. Do you know that we run one of the biggest pharmacies in the country? Yes, sir, the Department of Purchase has its own drug compounding division, a well equipped modern plant and we make many of our own pharmaceutical and chemical supplies. In the preparation of elixirs and medicines requiring alcohols we save $125,000 a year. Just think of the saving on that one item. And we have a great big coffee roasting plant, too, where we roast over 1,000,000 pounds of coffee a year that is consumed in our City institutions. We have a great old man there and I have just recommended his extension in service. He is over 70 years of age but he certainly knows how to roast coffee.
And this is not very pleasant but we assemble about 10,000 caskets a year for use in our hospitals and institutions. We have a typewriter hospital where we send all of the sick and broken down typewriters. We save from $150,000 to $200,000 a year in rebuilding old typewriters and doing all of the City repair work. And, of course in the sale of obsolete and surplus property or used property, there was something for the Polies. Polies is my short word for politician. Before I came in, the City was just as big as it is now and the total proceeds for the sale of such property was $12,000. Do you know how much we get now? $1,500,000. That is all.
Oh, yes, we have a cannery up in Chester County. Last year we canned 362,000 gallon cans of food for our hospitals and institutions and this year we are preparing to can about 500,000 gallon cans of food. Isn't that good?
It is a great Department.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
The Department of Public Works is another Department that I like. I have recommended an appropriation of $7,560,590. This Department has the responsibility of caring and maintaining all public buildings and all bridges and all new construction, except for the construction in Parks and Marine and Aviation. It also operates and constructs our Sewage Disposal plants. It is a fine Department and it certainly has improved in the last ten years. I have provided additional money in this year's budget for maintenance and repairs that we have been deferring all this time because of war conditions.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER SUPPLY, GAS AND ELECTRICITY
It cost $17,061,081 to operate your Water Supply System in New York City. That is, for the distribution of water. Of course, when you get a drink of water or take a bath, you do not think of it. You just turn the water on, that is all there is to it. But I will tell you, it is an important Department. I think that our Water Supply System is the greatest engineering feat in the entire world. If you consider that we up 125 miles into the mountains to get water for you, then bring it down in great big aqueducts, 30 feet in diameter and 800 feet below the ground, and in some places go under the river and then the water picks itself up and comes down, it is pure and you have enough and you just use it and sometimes you waste it and do not think anything about it. We use over 990,000,000 gallons of water a day, and I tell you that is a great deal of water.
BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY
The Board of Water supply is quite different from the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity. That Board
is charged with the construction of additional water supply facilities and as we are building now for a new supply of water. Our present supply comes from the Catskills and this new supply will come front the East Branch of the Delaware River. Most of the tunneling is complete. This year, through a very ingenious piece of engineering, though the work was stopped for one of the dams, the stream was diverted into a tunnel that had been completed and we get an average of 40,000,000 gallons more a day and we can store that. You know that you can store water just as you can store something in your icebox. This is made possible by the very clever system that we have of reservoirs all along the line.
MARINE AND AVIATION
For the Department of Marine and Aviation we provide $4,890,121. That Department has the control and operation of all of our waterfront property and our airports. It is doing a splendid job.
Of course, you know the Borough Presidents have jurisdiction over the maintenance of streets, the laying of pavements and the maintenance of sewers, except the intercepting sewers that bring the sewage to the disposal plants. The total appropriation for the five Borough Presidents is $13,903,831.
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND CRIMINAL COURTS
There are five District Attorneys, a Court of General Sessions; and County Courts in the other four counties; the cost of which is $4,118,149.
SUPREME AND SURROGATES COURTS
The mandatory Courts; over which we have no say, i.e., the Supreme Courts of the First and Second Departments and the Surrogates Courts have an appropriation of $8,081,642. Some day, somehow; that situation in New York City will be corrected. It does not exist in any other City of the State. These are State Courts and the budgets for these State Courts, except in New York City, are made by the State Legislature on the recommendation of the Governor, and then the counties are assessed. That is quite proper. But we have no say. The Legislature has no say. Only the Courts decide. They fix the number of personnel, they fix the salaries, and if we do not provide them in a hurry, they mandamus us and it is tried in the same Court that made the recommendation. So you can see what we are up against.
The five County Clerks, who have the archives of all important documents, cost $1,048,130.
The City Register, we have one now for the entire City, cost only $759,654. He is custodian of all records pertaining to real estate.
The City Sheriff's Office costs now $345,251. That too, is a new office established under County Reform. We used to have five politicians as Sheriffs who did nothing and drew big salaries. Now we have one Sheriff, selected by Civil Service and I can assure you that no racketeer or gangster is holding a Deputy Sheriff's badge now. That is some comfort, isn't it?
Do you know that New York City operates the biggest law office in the world. We have 204 lawyers and 371 clerks in the Law Department. It takes care of all of the legal business of the City of New York and it costs $2,153,447.
Our printing bill is $405,655.
The Comptroller's Office, which audits all of the expenditures and handles all of the financial business of the City, in making loans and issuing bonds, costs us $2,715,149.
To collect the millions of dollars of taxes in New York costs us only $2,079,216 for the Department of Finance.
BOARD OF ELECTIONS
Your Elections cost $2,189,285, that is for materials, supplies, and the personnel. They tell me that there is going to be an election this year.
HOUSING AND BUILDINGS
Housing and Buildings is a very important Department. It is a very necessary Department because I do not know what would happen if we did not have constant supervision over the multiple dwelling houses and that cost $2,245,480.
CORRECTIONS The Department of Correction, which operates and maintains the hotel at Rikers Island for the bad boys, costs $3,700,656.
The Municipal Broadcasting System, that you hear so much about every year at budget time, costs $114,405. It is worth a great deal more in view of its services to the City.
I think that the greatest service we get from any Department is that from the Department of Commerce. It costs us only $12,324 and it is giving us several million dollars worth of services.
Our Department of Markets, which is a model Department of Markets for any country in the world, costs $1,028,940.
I do not know what we would do in New York City without this Department. In peace time, it checks on weights and measures and prevents chiseling in quality and also in advertisements and cooperates with the Health Department in quality. Now we throw the whole force of the Markets Department into the enforcement of OPA price ceilings and it is affording most of the protection that the consumers have obtained during these troublesome times.
You hear a great deal about Paul Moss and the License Department once in a while, when there is a naughty show, but he does a great deal of other work besides that, and it costs us $175,306.
And here we have the City Planning Commission, which always is kicked around. People do not like it. You know why they do not like it? I will tell you why they do not like it. Because they cannot run it the way they used to do it in the old days. You know, in the old days, when a veterinarian was in charge, there were gas stations and all sorts of garages and all sorts of things everywhere. That is all past now. We have intelligent planning and the whole Department costs only $215,330.
PROVISION FOR RETURNING VETERANS
I recommended $2,000,000 in the budget to take care of City employees who are now in the Armed Service and who will return after being discharged and demobilized. We have 2,000 who have already returned. Inasmuch as we cannot tell exactly who will come back and to what Departments, I am recommending that this appropriation of $2,000,000 be allocated by the Board of Estimate to the Departments as their former employees return from the War.
There is also an appropriation in the budget to take care of 500 Park Avenue where we expect to have a Veterans Cooperation Center. Two floors will be taken by the Federal Government for its various Bureaus such as the Educational Department, Veterans Bureau and others, all Federal government care for veterans. The City Departments will be represented there and so too will the State Departments. Thus veterans can go there and instead of being given the run-around, and being sent from place to place, they can get all the information and all the service right there and then.
I thought this out owing to my experience after the last war. We try to profit by mistakes made after the last war and, therefore, see if we cannot center in one building all the services that a veteran may require.
EMERGENCY WAR COSTS
Up to date the cost in necessary Defense and Protective measures in supplies and materials, such as installation of sirens, air raid signals for public buildings, street and traffic lights, dimout changes, street and traffic light restoration, equipment, materials and supplies for public buildings, supplies and materials for cleaning expense, oil pumps, etc., is $4,372,686. I hope that there will be no recurrence of expenditures of that kind.
THANKS TO GOVERNOR DEWEY
I could not possibly talk on the budget without expressing the appreciation of the Mayor and of the people of this City to Governor Thomas Dewey for his very constructive and realistic approach to the fiscal problems of the Cities within his State. It is the first time in 30 or 35 years that this problem has been so intelligently approached. The Governor appointed a Commission headed by State Comptroller Frank C. Moore, which made a thorough examination of the problems of the City. The other Cities have problems too. New York City was represented on this Board by Comptroller Joseph A. McGoldrick and Mr. Reuben A. Lazarus of this office. Both of these City officials have had great experience and made a great contribution to the work of this Commission. Of course, I would be ungrateful if I did not appreciate what was done, but at the same time I would not be frank if I did not say that they did not do enough. You see, I guess habit is a bad thing. In Albany it is a custom to give the short end of it to New York City and the big end upstate.
In designating $100,000,000 as a contribution or restitution of State Taxes to localities, we pay about 55% and our population is about 55%, but lo and behold, we get 45% and the rest of the State gets 55%. Maybe that was a typographical error and I hope it is corrected. I believe that other features ought to be considered in giving New York City its share of State taxes. I do not like the term State assistance to cities. It is not assistance. It is the Cities that make up the State. Therefore, if the bulk of the revenue of the State comes from the Cities, it is, therefore, just a partial restitution of State Taxes paid by the City.
NEW YORK CITY
I suppose that now you know all about the budget and have an idea of what your City is doing. It is a big budget but it is a mighty City. It is a great City. I think that it is the leading City in the entire world in its vision and in its determination to make it the biggest City in the world and not in population, not in the height of its buildings, not even in its wealth, but to make it the leading and the greatest City in the world in the services to its people, in making it the City beautiful, in making it the City of happy people and in making it the City of healthy children.
PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE.