NYC mayor's budget assumes shortfall from Washington and Albany

- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his projected spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. He is allocating a lot of cash toward hot-button agenda items like body cameras, NYCHA heating units, and early childhood education. What you won't see is money for the transit system. The budget this time around totals $88.7 billion. That is a spending increase of nearly $4 million.

The mayor said the city is "safer than ever" and its economy is "booming." He also pointed to the contributions of immigrants.

The budget—set against a backdrop of uncertainty in Washington and Albany—presents a picture of a robust economy in the five boroughs, with unemployment hovering around 4 percent, and nearly half of all businesses owned by immigrants. City Hall is also projecting the city's population to reach 9 million by 2030.

But then there is the Washington question. De Blasio said his budget is balanced, includes reserves, and looks ahead to "risks coming up I-95 and down the New York State Thruway." The plan predicts a $700 million shortfall from D.C. but offers no alternative to combating it.

The budget does, however, allocate a significant amount of cash to local initiatives such as:

  • $4 million to expand a jail diversion program
  • $5.2 million to combat "construction harassment" of tenants
  • $8.2 million for anti-bullying efforts
  • $12 million for NYPD body cameras
  • $13 million to upgrade NYCHA's heating system

The plan also makes a $200 million capital investment in the city's affording housing system and puts $4.2 billion in the retiree health benefits trust fund.

And the mayor says the plan maintains the city's reserves. De Blasio and the City Council will continue to negotiate a fiscal plan until the end of June.

The mayor will head to Albany next week to defend his budget and to ask state lawmakers for more money. He said the city is facing a $400 million shortfall in state funding.

The New York State Division of the Budget issued this statement in response to the mayor's spending plan:

"While closing a $4.4 billion gap, this year's budget sends $16.5 billion in aid to the City–more than 40 percent of funding awarded to all local governments–and a half billion dollar increase over last year. The state's budget includes a $248 million increase in school aid, $212 million more for the state takeover of Medicaid, and $60 million in additional tax revenue–calling this significant increase a cut is disingenuous and the City should check its math." –Morris Peters, spokesman

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