Mayor David Dinkins made the rounds of Sunday talk shows to defend the drastic measures he introduced last week to close a massive budget gap, and said "no one knew" how bad the financial crisis would get.

Dinkins, who on Friday ordered $1.5 billion in cuts in essential services and pink slips for 29,000 municipal employees, said no one told him at the beginning of his term how far and how fast the city's economic fortunes would plummet."No one knew," the mayor said.

A drastic reduction in revenues and the lack of funds from Albany, caused by the state's own budget problems, caused a $3.5 billion budget gap and forced the mayor to call for the cuts that will severely affect the quality of life in the nation's largest city.

His plan also calls for about $1 billion in tax hikes.