From NY Daily News:

The city could save $9 million by scrapping substitute teachers in favor of online lessons, or $20 million by using green taxis instead of buses on some little-used routes.

And officials could bring in another $20 million by scrapping a special sales tax break for interior decorators, plus $5 million for hiking fines for drivers hit with repeated speed and red light camera violations.

The ideas are among the new possibilities tested this year in the Independent Budget Office’s annual budget options report, which looks at 90 ways the city could cut costs or raise revenues.

IBO doesn’t endorse or oppose any of the ideas, but crunches the numbers for different ways the city could bring in cash, from the obvious to the off-beat.

“The new administration in Washington is proposing substantial cuts in federal aid to New York at the same time local economic growth has slowed, and along with it tax collections,” said IBO director Ronnie Lowenstein. “Given these challenges, our compendium of budget options can help New Yorkers and their elected officials consider a wide range of measures for addressing the budget shortfalls that may arise.”

One proposal would run green taxis on a set of bus routes that the city reimburses the MTA to run, which could reduce subsidies by $20 million a year. Converting an additional 10% of Access-a-Ride trips to taxi service could save another $13 million.

Another idea would have the Department of Education stop hiring substitutes at $155 a day when a high school teacher is absent less than three days, and instead direct kids to online assignments. After accounting for the technology costs, it would save $9 million.

Some $20 million in sales tax could come from collecting regular taxes on interior decorating services, which are now exempt.

Beside the money from higher speed and red light camera fines, officials could bring in $1 million by fining drivers for idling without giving a warning first and $2 million by hiking licensing fees on tour buses, according to IBO.

Read more at NY Daily News…