July 1, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well good morning, everybody. It is hard to believe it, but we are now in the month of July, now beginning the fifth month that we've been fighting together against the coronavirus. So, it's been a long battle and it will continue to be, but as we enter the month of July, it begins with thinking about July 4th and the meaning of it, thinking about the pride we feel in our city, in our country, in each other, as we fight together in common cause. It is a reminder of what July 4th is all about – one of the most profound concepts underlying what happened in 1776 was the fight for freedom. We are fighting shoulder to shoulder in a fight for freedom from the coronavirus and the people of this city have been earning, every day, more and more of that freedom through hard work and work together. So, we today can talk about some additional steps forward we're going to make.
Today we can talk about some of the things that are going to advance because we've been doing the right thing together, but there is also some tough news today. And as I've said before, I want to always start with the bad news and then go to the good news. And the bad news is regarding a situation that we've seen now all over the country. Look, all of us in leadership at this moment in history, we have to be willing to make tough decisions and we have to be willing to look at the facts and act on the facts. Let the facts take us to the right decision. We know a lot of other parts of this country, very sadly, made decisions based on something other than the data and in the heat of the moment. And now what we're seeing in Florida, what we're seeing in Texas, even California that tried really hard to get it right, slipping backwards. We see a lot of problems and we particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants, indoors. And indoors is the problem more and more, the sciences showing it more and more.
So, I want to make very clear. We cannot go ahead, at this point in time, with indoor dining in New York City. Look, even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could, but the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time. We're going to work with the State of New York and we have been working together throughout this crisis. We're going to work with the State of New York to figure out what is the exact right way to do this, how to postpone indoor dining until the right moment, what the approach would be to determine when it makes sense to go about it again. As I said, we have been in absolute unity with the State on the focus on data. The data in this city and this state's been getting better all the time, but the data around the country has been getting worse and worse and worse – in the last few days, shockingly worse. And what Dr. Fauci said about the potential in other parts of the country, for the surge that gets so bad, that we could be talking about 100,000 cases a day in the United States. We've got to honor those facts and it is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining.
But it is the time to double down on outdoor dining. And so far, we have 6,600 restaurants that have taken advantage of our Open Restaurants initiative. I believe there are many more that could benefit from it. We're going to have a huge outreach effort. It's been going on for days, but it's going to deepen over the next few days with Small Business Services, that department and the Department of Transportation, going out into communities, helping to show restaurants that qualify that they can take advantage of this right away, get a lot more business and do it in a safe way, which is outdoors. So, I am very convinced we can help restaurants survive, we can help bring in a lot more revenue to them. We can help bring back a lot of jobs, but do it safely and do it outdoors. Now, outdoor dining unquestionably has been a great hit. And I think the bottom line is that outdoors is working period. This is one of the things we've learned. Outdoors is where we need to be to the maximum extent possible this summer as we fight back this disease. Face coverings are working. We've learned some things that actually make sense. Social distancing works. We now have seen through experience the power of doing things outdoors, the power of the face coverings, the power of the social distancing. So, let's double down and let's make sure that New Yorkers can do as much outdoors as possible going forward.
So, that begins with today's very good news. We announced it before, but today is the day our New York City beaches open today. We are ready for a great holiday weekend. The lifeguards are ready to go. New Yorkers can stay cool. This is something people have been waiting patiently for – maybe not always patiently for, but it's here and that's going to help a lot. But now we're going to go the next step with the outdoor pools. And we were not sure before whether we got available to open some of them, but now we will be able to open some of our biggest outdoor pools and some of the outdoor pools in the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus. And for families, for kids in particular, this is going to be so important, something to look forward to and to enjoy this summer and a place to stay cool. Fifteen outdoor pools will open in the next few weeks. There's a list on your screen. Three open on July 24th, the remainder open hook – excuse me – on August 1st. Now it's not all of our pools. The truth is we had to choose the ones that we thought would have the maximum benefit for the communities hit hardest, the largest pools that we could open, the ones for folks who were the farthest from the beaches. We had to make some choices, but I think these 15 pools are going to make a big, big difference for people in communities all over New York City. Now, again, we're going to do it the right way. There will be social distancing, there will be face coverings when you're not in the pool. We're going to do this with all the standards the State has rightfully set for keeping people safe. And, yeah, there are restrictions. It's going to be different. There's going to be spacing when people are waiting in line to go in, there's going to be a lot of things to make sure we really hold on to the progress we made on health care, but it will all be worth it. And for our kids, in particular, it's going to help for them to have a better summer.
Okay, speaking of young people, they've been through a lot. I've talked about this a lot. They have been through so much. We have to be there for them and a very good result of the budget process, working with the City Council that really prioritized young people and I give them credit for that – $115 million will now be invested in summer programming. And that's going to reach 115,000 young people in this city. And I want to tell you about a couple of the pieces. One, so important, we're going to use young people as social distancing ambassadors and ambassadors for our Test and Trace program, getting the word out in communities. They'll get paid to do this good work, give them meaningful productive work to do, rewarding work to do, and they'll help us to keep people safe. We're also going to have summer camps, combining our pre-existing efforts, the COMPASS initiative, Beacon programs, Cornerstone programs, we're going to have a summer camp initiative. A lot of it will be online. Some of it will be outdoors. All of it will be done safely, but it'll be very enriching for kids. And then the Summer Bridge program, this takes what we have done, historically with summer youth employment, makes a variation on that for the coronavirus moment, makes sure that our young people will get financial support, that they'll be able to work on career readiness and be able to explore the future and do important community service. A lot of that again will be online, but it will be very positive and rewarding for our kids. They'll make a difference in their communities. They'll prepare themselves for their future. It will help our kids on the right path and help them to get compensated because we want our young people to have a positive and productive summer.
Now let's turn to our indicators. And again, today, good news in New York City, which you have earned. Indicator number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, that threshold is 200 and today there are 61 patients. Indicator two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs, that threshold is 375 – today, 293 patients. And most importantly, the percentage of people testing positive citywide for COVID-19, threshold of 15 percent – today, two percent. That's the number we've been at most of the time in the last few weeks and that is a very, very good number. A few words in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, we will turn to our colleagues in the media. Please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: Good morning, all. We'll now begin our Q-and-A – as a reminder, we're joined today by Budget Director Melanie Hartzog, SBS Commissioner Jonnel Doris, Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh, and Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Varma. First question today goes to Brigid from WNYC
Question: Morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Hey, Brigid. Hey, how are you doing?
Question: Happy beach day.
Mayor: Happy beach day, yes. I know that's important to the residents of the Rockaways, in particular.
Question: [Inaudible] indeed. So, I have a couple of budget questions. The first I want to sort of more big picture historical, you know, I know this was a very difficult budget agreement to reach [inaudible] budget gaps because of the pandemic. And yet even this $88 billion budget is vastly larger than your first fiscal year in 2015 when it was just the $75 billion budget. So, I'm wondering if you could just talk a little bit about how you want New Yorkers to understand how the City budget has grown under your mayoralty.
Mayor: Brigid –
Mayor: Yeah. Thank you. It's a very, very important question. And the budget grew because we had the revenue, the budget grew because the City was succeeding. You'll remember recently as February – 4.6 million jobs, the most in the history of New York City. The budget grew because we had so many important investments to make to build up the city and make it more fair and equal. So, I am someone – look, my political orientation is really clear. I am someone who believes that we learned a lot of what we needed to know about life from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, and that a government that invests in its people actually creates a stronger and sustainable society. So, we invested a huge amount in education, pre-K, 3-K, after school programs, a huge amount in affordable housing, a huge redistribution of wealth, tens of billions of dollars that we redistributed to working class people and communities of color that had gotten the short end of the stick – and all of that was worth it. And look, we need to get out of this crisis and move forward, and we're not going to do it through the “austerity approach.” We saw how badly that has failed in many parts of the world. We've got to keep investing whatever way we can, but within our means, I'm praying for a stimulus in Washington that will allow us to truly get back on our feet. But I think the investments we made over the long term were the right ones to make.
Question: And then given the reaction to this budget deal and that, you know, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is now no longer threatening to use his charter power but says he will. What actions are you prepared to take if he attempts to use the charter to block implementation of this?
Mayor: Brigid, I was public advocate. I know the law. That's just a misinterpretation of the law. The Law Department feels that strongly. I know the City Council feels that strongly. If you look at that passage, it says the public advocate and the city clerk sign off on the tax receipts. And I don't think anyone's going to say the city clerk can shut down the New York City government and shut down our budget, nor can the public advocate. So we're going to move forward. We have a budget that was agreed upon with the City Council to keep this city moving forward. And we need to recognize that it's so important in New York City to focus on our restart and our recovery and not distractions like this.
Moderator: The next is Al Jones from 1010 WINS.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. This has to do with indoor, outdoor dining. It seems to me with a lot of the smaller restaurants, the mom and pops, the corner restaurants – that they really aren't equipped to move outside. And the sidewalks are narrow, the streets are crowded. Has any thought been given to maybe opening up more of the streets? I know we have the Open Streets program, but more for restaurants? Like they're doing up on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx? Closing off blocks and just giving them over to the restaurants to have a lot more outdoor seating?
Mayor: Yeah Al, I think it's a really good idea. Look we have two real successes – the Open Restaurants initiative with the sidewalks and the curbs, unquestionably working. We can take that a lot farther. The Open Streets, and I want to give the City Council credit. They really pushed that idea. We worked hard to figure out how to do it right. It took a while. And then we got there. The Open Streets are working. We're going to combine them as you're indicating to have Open Streets that also allow for a lot more room for restaurants. And I think there's more Open Streets we can do. So, yeah, I want to see where we can use that model – especially look, we've only got a few months when it's warm enough to really maximize this. I want to see us do more Open Streets in general and more Open Streets that can also benefit our restaurants.
Moderator: Al do you have a follow up?
Question: I do not.
Mayor: Okay. Thank you.
Moderator: The next is Katie Honan from the Wall Street Journal.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, happy Beach Day to all who celebrate. I will ask a question about the budget. This is like a, I guess a broader question, but I asked the Council this yesterday and I – it’s sort of taking a look at the movement going on around the city for widespread reform. And you know, I know you have one more budget. I know you don't want to think about next year's budget, I guess if you're going to this year’s. But where do you see the city going over the next six months and 12 months to continue shrinking the NYPD’s budget, to continue reallocating resources, keeping in mind that we have a continued tax revenue issue and other budget issues? Especially for the activists who are still so engaged right now?
Mayor: Yeah. Look, I respect everyone who is protesting, but I'll tell you what I think the vast majority of New Yorkers feel right now, Katie. They want a safe city and they want a fair city. They appreciate that our police are there to keep us safe and they want to see policing get fairer, more respectful. I actually think the vast majority of New Yorkers do not think there's a contradiction. They believe in the NYPD, they want to see the NYPD improve in some ways. But Lord knows they want to know when they call for a police officer to help them, that that officer will be there. So that's how we're going to approach it, with that core principle in mind. And I believe that is what the strong majority of New Yorkers want. The future is going to involve a lot more reform. We're going to be working on reform through a variety of mechanisms, including our internal Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, our very, very important commission, the commission we're putting together on racial justice and reconciliation. We're going to be looking at institutional racism, figuring out how to tear it down in all agencies. How to make fair investments in our people, how to right some of the wrongs of the past. A lot of that's going to be policy. It doesn't always involve money, but that's where I'm going to focus my energies for the next year and a half.
Question: And my second question is a more specific budget question. I know in – this was in your proposal from OMB’s proposal, and it did go in the final budget to scrap the plans to build a 1-16 Precinct in Southeast Queens. I know community members have been asking for that for 40 years. And one of the main reasons they asked for it was because the response time is two minutes longer on average in the areas around the 1-0-5 Precinct compared to the rest of the city. You're reallocating the money to a recreation center, but there are still some community members who are still concerned about the response time. Back in 2017, when you announced this, it was sort of seen as this new idea of a perceived community center inside. So is there any plan to mitigate that, to kind of improve response time without spending, I guess it was $92 million?
Mayor: Yeah. Katie we're going to keep working on response time all the time. And this is something I think will happen at some point in the future, with the 1-16th Precinct, but right now it was right to reallocate those resources to a community center, the Roy Wilkins Center, and to really focus on young people. That's one of the things we're hearing rightfully from people all over the city, rightfully from the City Council. Refocus resources on young people. So I took the initiative to say, in addition to the $1 billion dollars, let's do a half billion in capital from the NYPD for youth centers, recreation centers in communities hardest hit. Let's go and focus on broadband in NYCHA. We are going to have a lot more to say on that in the coming days. That I think is the central thrust right now. How do we focus on young people? Of course, we're going to keep residents in Southeast Queens safe, and we're going to work on response time all the time. But the precinct – at this moment in history, it was more important to focus on the most pivotal investments and that, you know, I will continue to believe the day will come in the future when we can follow through on the 1-16th Precinct.
Moderator: The next is Rich Lamb from WCBS 880.
Question: Mr. Mayor, good morning.
Mayor: Good morning, Rich.
Question: So Mr. Mayor you mentioned in your remarks about the areas of the country where you know, the fever or the virus is surviving and climbing. And the idea of keeping the – remember the idea of keeping people out of New York, visitors from places where COVID is skyrocketing, has any action been taken on that? Can you do anything about it? Have you talked to the airlines or – you know, there clearly is a worry that that people will come here and we'll have a repeat?
Mayor: Yes, Rich, it's a real thing and a real concern. So the division of labor here, of course, the most obvious places, the airports, you know, if someone's coming on a flight from Florida or Texas. We're talking with the State and we'd like the Port Authority police, you know, working with the airlines to get those names and share them with the City. And then our Test and Trace Corp can follow up with every single one, confirm they're in quarantine, make sure they have resources if they need food or if they need health care or whatever it's going to take. The same, the bus terminal, Port Authority Bus Terminal would be a great place for the Port Authority Police to get names of people coming off of buses from the states that are on that list that the Governor talked about. And the State police at, you know, bridges and tunnels. They patrol, obviously can stop people with those plates from those states and just confirm that they're from there and get their contact info if they're going to be staying in New York City. And then we will work on the follow through, through our Test and Trace Corp.
Question: I have a different topic here. So the encampment outside of City Hall – during their presence, the building that you named for your mentor, David N. Dinkins and the old surrogate's court building have both been defaced, painted with graffiti, nasty graffiti. Is this group going to be allowed to occupy the area indefinitely? And will you call out the defacing?
Mayor: Yeah, it's unacceptable. And it's inappropriate. Look, I believe in peaceful protest. I do not believe in attacking people. I do not believe in attacking police officers. I think anyone who is -- look a protestor who says vile nasty things to a police officer is degrading their own movement. A protestor who writes nasty, violent phrases on a public building is degrading their own movement, especially a public building named after our first African American mayor. I mean, get it together people. If you want to protest for change, do it in a peaceful, respectful manner. And I really believe that the people of this city respect, peaceful protest. They do not respect violence. They do not respect denigration of others. Look, we will continue to respect peaceful protest, but we obviously also have to keep the city moving and running Rich. We'll figure out as always how to strike that balance. And I think the bottom line is, you know, wherever there is protest, we'll work to make sure it is safe and peaceful.
Moderator: The next is Reuven from Hamodia.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. Shant from the Daily News reported yesterday that the budget projects $42 million in revenue from extra tickets by having more police personnel doing, quote enforcement unquote, is this one way the City is trying to raise revenue during tough economic times by giving New Yorkers more tickets?
Mayor: Reuven, the fact is that the reason someone gets a ticket is if they're doing something wrong. We don't want fake revenue. We do want people to follow the rules. And so what's clear is we still have real problems in terms of traffic enforcement, parking enforcement areas, where people are not following the laws. And that creates a problem for their fellow New Yorkers. So we will do enforcement only where it's appropriate and ensure that people understand there are consequences.
Question: Incident several days ago, Councilman Kalman Yeger proposed amendments to reduce the interest rate charged to taxpayers who miss payments during the recovery period, saying people are having a tough time during this crisis. The City shouldn't be profiting from their misfortune, especially since you have said many times that you support letting renters delay rent payments. Now during the Council vote, members of your staff were texting council members saying that if the interest is reduced, it will bankrupt the City. Do you agree that the City would be bankrupted if interest would be reduced only for the upcoming property tax payments? [Inaudible] interest used to discourage late payments or will be used by the City as a way to make revenue?
Mayor: Reuven, it's the same point. People need to, of course pay their property tax bills, pay whatever they owe to the City of New York. Why? Because it allows us to keep everything else going. If you want safety, if you want to know that there's going to be a firefighter if there's a fire in your house, if you want your garbage picked up, all the things you want, that health care system functioning, it depends on the tax revenue. We've been really clear that a lot of people are in hardship and there are ways that folks who are in hardship can make adjustments in how, and when they pay. There are interest rates. We've made adjustments to interest rates, but we can't say that it's an open situation where we can do without revenue and still keep this city going. We're not getting help yet from Washington or Albany. So we have to strike a balance. And I think we did strike a fair balance here.
Moderator: The next is Luis from [inaudible].
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, how are you?
Mayor: Good, Luis. How are you doing?
Question: Hanging in there. Since last Friday, the Governor's spoken of a certain air filtration systems being mandatory for malls and as a recommendation for other businesses and offices, has the city and or Health Department have been working in any way, shape or form with the State in this regard or speaking with local businesses about this?
Mayor: Yeah, Luis, it's an important point and we are working closely with the State and all of our health team working with the State health team, and we're certainly going to work with businesses, with office buildings, to figure out what's going to keep people safe. I know the vast majority of business folks I've talked to are already on this kind of thing, Luis. They want to make sure their employees are safe. They don't want to see a situation when there's an outbreak. They have a real positive self interest in getting it right. But yeah, we're all working together to maximize the use of that kind of tool.
Question: Okay, regarding indoor dining, have you any clue what the Governor's decision today might be? I mean, you think his monitors last night found something pleasing or displeasing?
Mayor: What was that last part?
Question: You think his monitors, you know, the State Police, the Health Department, the Liquor Authority?
Mayor: Yeah that’s – I want to separate the different issues. Look on indoor dining, what we're all looking at, the State and the City, is the experience from the other parts of the country that has been unfortunately so negative and so consistent. Certainly let the Governor and his team speak for themselves but I believe we all share a concern that indoor dining has now become problematic. And it's not a rule forever that we couldn't do it, but it's a postponement. That's what I believe is right to do, and wait until we have evidence that we can do it safely. There's a separate question about enforcing folks who are outdoors, and we all – we have a lot of civilian agencies that are constantly going to make sure that we do not have outdoor groupings and address them. It's not perfect, but, overwhelmingly, let's be clear, overwhelmingly New York City residents respect social distancing, wear their face coverings, don't want to get each other sick. What I think we should be very careful about is that is not a role for police. It's not a role for a city police or State Police to enforce social distancing. We learned that through experience and we are honest about it. We had to change that. We're not going to do it that way. I don't think the State Police should either.
Moderator: We have time for two more today. The next is Mark Morales from CNN.
Question: Hey, good morning everybody. How are you doing today?
Mayor: Good Mark, how are you?
Question: Good, good. I wanted to ask you about budget [inaudible] NYPD [inaudible]. There were significant cuts made in other cities like, LA, obviously Minneapolis. So I wanted to ask you, why not go and do a deeper cut or why was the decision made to shift around a lot of the [inaudible]? And I know that you mentioned yesterday that these are still cuts, but you're still making the money available, but why not do something similar to what LA did, or Minneapolis – maybe not Minneapolis, but other cities, why was –
Mayor: Mark respectfully, I don't know – I mean, I'm not saying this disrespectfully – I don't know if you've seen all the details. I would compare what we've done to any city. We are reducing the size of our police force by not having the next recruit class. We are reducing our overtime levels. We're shifting functions away from police to civilian agencies. It's a huge initiative. And on top of that billion dollars’ worth of activity, another half billion in money that was in the police for major projects, major capital projects, that's now going to go into youth centers and broadband access for public housing residents. I really think if people look at these facts, they are going to recognize this as a huge reinvestment in communities, while we still stay state as a city. I'm very comfortable we struck the right balance. And again, what I'm saying represents – I am certain the majority of New Yorkers who want this to be a safe city, they want more fairness, they want more reform, but they also want to make sure we consistently stay safe. Go ahead, Mark.
Question: Yeah. The other question I have was about overtime, and I know you mentioned that there was going to be, I guess, good leadership was going to dictate how much overtime was needed, but I wanted you to be very specific. Can you give me one scenario where traditionally there would be overtime [inaudible] now no longer be the case?
Mayor: Yeah, look, Mark, the whole concept is to reevaluate everything we do with overtime and reform it. The NYPD for 25 years has been in the process of managerial reform, starting with COMPSTAT in 1994. This is an agency that has gotten more and more modern, more and more efficient all the time. The team that the NYPD is going to look at all uses of overtime. Where can we reduce the number of officers used in a certain situation? Where's there something where we don't use overtime, but we use the officers who were on that shift? There's a variety of ways you can do it. Certainly we can save money with fewer events because a lot of events aren't happening and staffing events differently in the future when they do happen again. But there's no question in my mind, we're going to make some very big savings here by just approaching things in a new way.
Moderator: Last question for today goes to Michael Gartland from the Daily News.
Question: Morning, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Hey, Michael. How are you doing, man?
Question: I am all right. A couple of questions, one again on the budget and back to the overtime. We got, you know, budgets are projections, right? So we're looking at $350 million in cut over time and you know, money that the DOE have already funds school safety at. And just going back a little further, and I apologize for like a little bit of a digression here, but, you know, there've been instances in the past where you know going back to Rechnitz and Reichberg, where you'd said that you didn't really have a close connection to these guys and it turned out that the connection was a little closer than suggested. You know, a lot of people say privately that, you know, this budget amounts to basically a lie and that there's been kind of a pattern of lying in this administration. And I –
Mayor: Mike, are you going to ask a question or are you making a speech, brother?
Question: Sorry, sorry. I apologize. So I guess what's your response to those folks who see this budget as is kind of, you know, smoke and mirrors as has been perceived by some –
Mayor: Yeah, I got your point now. So listen, I disagree with you on the history you referred to, with all due respect, what I said back then was the truth and still is the truth. Second, no, this is the real thing, and it's abundantly clear it's the real thing and I'm really think people need to be more honest in their assessments of what's happening here. It is not easy to say we're not going to have a July recruit class. It's not easy to say we're going to have 1,163 fewer police officers, and we're going to have to make it up with a lot of efficiencies and redeployments. It's not easy to move important things that our police have been doing over to civilian agencies. We believe it's the right thing to do. It will take work. It will take effort. And we're going to be reforming that work in the meantime. School safety is going to continue to reform while making that transition. I don't see people reporting on the 40 percent decline in suspensions, that's what we did. The bringing in restorative justice, social emotional learning, all the changes. When we make profound reforms in how we treat our young people, that doesn't seem to make it to the front page, with all due respect. So we are making big changes. Some of them are by shifting responsibilities and shifting resources to another agency or another type of work. Some of them are just straight up taking money out of the budget, they're going to have to make do with less, less overtime, fewer officers, but I am certain we can stay safe at the same time. So, it is straightforward and it's real. Go ahead.
Question: All right. Second question is you know, you've talked about the expansion of the city's borrowing powers, that's been a discussion we've been having. You know, lawmakers we've talked to have said based on past spending practices, they don't – they essentially don’t trust giving this power to the city, that it will be misused. And you know, I understand your position that this is kind of essential to avoid austerity measures, as well as kind of the stimulus. What would you say to those people to kind of restore trust they have that the city could handle this in a way that's –
Mayor: I don't think it's about trust. I think it's about politics. When after 9/11, Rudy Giuliani went to Albany, he got a unanimous support from the Democratic Assembly and the Republican Senate to allow $2.5 billion in borrowing for New York City to see itself out of that crisis. New York City borrowed $2 billion worth has almost paid all of it back over a 20-year plan. Had no negative impact on our finances. The city continued to thrive after. This is the biggest single combined crisis the city has ever seen. The amount of borrowing we asked for, we brought the number to $5 billion. That's not a lot of money compared to the extent of our budget. It will be handled responsibly. Our team at OMB handles everything responsibly. The city's bond rating went up in the last year, whereas most of America didn't see that obviously. No this is a very financially well-run, carefully managed city and anyone who wants the facts can see it.
And so, because Albany didn't act, we had to put a billion dollars in the budget for labor savings. We're going to work with our labor unions to try and avert layoffs. And if we cannot, and if there is no stimulus or help from Albany, then something horrible and tragic will happen on October 1st, 22,000 good people, 22,000 city employees will be laid off. That's about as real as it gets. So I would ask people to put the politics aside, look at the facts, and work with this city that has done so much to help its people, and also to be careful with it's money. And that's how we move forward with that.
With that everyone, look, this is a really, really pivotal time in our city's history and we have come through these last four months, when people said it could not be done, when it looked like it was going to get worse and worse, the rest of the country often was not charitable and respectful to New York City. Guess what? As they say in scripture, as scripture tells us, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. New York City today is doing everything to keep our people healthy, keep our people safe. It is so clear that the measures we've all taken together, the social distancing, the shelter in place, the use of the face coverings, the focus on outdoors activity is the right thing to do, it's working and we're going to be smart, and we're going to be careful, and we're going to focus on data, and we're going to do things the right way for our people. So this is a moment for everyone to be real focused, real serious, to work together. If we do that, we're going to fight this disease back once and for all, and then get to the work of restarting and rebuilding the city and bring it back better and fairer than ever. Thank you.