Mayor Bill de Blasio presented today his first preliminary budget presentation for the fiscal year of 2015. The $73.7B budget includes no broad base spending cuts, yet more money for closed hospitals and a $530M in new revenue from the proposed tax hike plan to fund universal pre-k. The mayor also projected a $1.1B deficit in FY 2016, while the city still enjoys a surplus.
Yet, in a speech at City Hall, the mayor called it a fiscally responsible plan that reflects his core progressive values, and represents the first step in charting a new course forward for New York City. The preliminary budget was crafted with three imperatives in mind: responsibility, progressiveness and honesty, mayor de Blasio said.
According to the plan, the budget for the current year, FY 2014, remains balanced by relying on $1 billion from the prior year. The FY 2015 plan right now relies on $1.8 billion of resources from the prior year for balance.
The Mayor also announced an additional increase of $35 million to the current 2014 budget that will go towards the winter snow budget, previously budgeted with $57 million, for the sanitation department to respond to snow and winter storms. The new $35M allocation will cover costs to date, as well as expected costs for the rest of the season.
The preliminary budget begins to implement Mayor de Blasio’s progressive agenda. Beyond his pre-K and after-school programs, which are funded through a dedicated tax, the plan proposes just $14 million in new initiatives in FY 2014 and $26 million in FY 2015, such as the installment of a NYPD inspector general, paid sick leave, funding of NYCHA repair and homelessness services, and improving health services.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also nearly doubled the budget for his former office and gave huge boosts to borough presidents across the five boroughs, Politicker noted.
The public advocate’s office, currently occupied by Tish James, will receive an extra $700,000 in the fiscal year starting July 1, administration officials revealed today. That will bring her office’s budget up from a meager $1.6 million budget up to to $2.3 million.
Mr. de Blasio also sprinkled resources on the five borough presidents’ offices, adding $1.7 million to the Staten Island office, $1.5 million for Queens, $2 million for Brooklyn, $1.8 million for the Bronx and $1.7 million for Manhattan.
The total sum of the increases to all of the officials who seem to be in line with mayor de Blasio is: $9.8 million.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Finance Committee chair Julissa Ferreras released the following joint statement:
“While this budget is a good start, the City Council will be thoroughly examining it in upcoming hearings to determine its impact on New Yorkers.
“Many uncertainties remain in our fiscal outlook, such as funding from Albany and Washington, along with outstanding labor contracts and we look forward to working with the Administration to make sure New York City gets its fair share.
“We are particularly happy to see our fire companies are fully funded and no longer in danger of being closed, that the Administration waived costly payments from NYCHA to the NYPD in order to further reduce the maintenance backlog, and that there is increased funding for homeless and runaway youth and other programs.
“”The City Council looks forward to beginning budget oversight hearings in a few weeks which will provide the public with an open forum to examine how the budget will benefit and effect New Yorkers and we welcome all to attend or watch.”
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)