Warning of the fiscal danger if New York City fails to rein in its spiraling pension and health care costs, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday challenged his would-be successors to take a tough line in negotiations with the city’s unions, while worrying aloud that whoever is elected will be too beholden to labor.
“We can’t wake up tomorrow morning — the day after the election — and find that some candidate has made a back-room deal with one of the unions that sets the pattern for all the other unions that will eventually lead to stopping the growth in this city,” Mr. Bloomberg said, departing from his prepared remarks at the end of a speech in Brooklyn on the city’s economy and fiscal situation.
“We cannot afford certain things,” he continued. “It’s tough to say no. It’s particularly tough to say no when nobody wants anybody to get hurt. But the bottom line: this is the taxpayers’ money, and this is our future.”
Mr. Bloomberg’s speech, delivered at a former Pfizer manufacturing plant that is now home to some two dozen small companies, producing everything from 3D printers to kimchi, was in part an attempt to burnish his record of fiscal stewardship, which is hotly debated. He argued that he has determinedly tried to reform pensions and health care but has been stymied by unions.
Fiscal watchdogs note that his administration presided over a 40 percent increase in the city budget, and in his second term handed out raises without demanding concessions on pensions and...