Mayor Bloomberg, who is attempting to push an increase in the city's sales tax through Albany next year, is arguing that revenues from the tax are essential to the city.
"If you can tell me which programs you'd like to cut, which city employees you'd like to lay off, which neighborhoods you don't want to protect, I'd be happy to listen to that," he said yesterday at a press conference in Brooklyn when asked about the tax.
"We are going to have some real budgetary problems and this city is going to need a lot of revenue. I've been telling you all along there are big, enormous deficits facing us," he said.
The city's sales tax is set to drop by 1 percentage point, to 7.375%, this summer, under rules stemming from the city's fiscal crisis of the 1970s.
The temporary tax, created to help the city overcome its financial troubles, is scheduled to expire on July 1.
Keeping the tax at its current level of 8.375% requires approval from state lawmakers. If the tax dropped to its intended level, the city projects it would lose about $3.75 billion over the next three fiscal years.
The city is anticipating a $2.7 billion shortfall for the next fiscal year.