Fiscal Gaps, the Good Kind

For the numerically inclined among you, here’s the city’s freshly posted revised Financial Plan for Fiscal Years 2008 to 2011.

A finance person I spoke with explained to me patiently that the number to keep in mind is the “Gap to be Closed” figure, which estimates how much money the city may be short in the upcoming fiscal years. It’s counterintuitive, but those numbers, when they’re big, are a powerful tool for the city when negotiating things like contracts with unions, providing leverage in negotiating down a final figure.

The anticipated gap for Fiscal Year 2009 is $2,730,000,000; $4,821,000,000 in FY 2010 and $6,459,000,000 in FY2011.

But, as the finance person told me, “A lot of stuff happens between now and then.”