Mayor’s Budget: Once Again, A Surplus Followed By Cuts and Shortfalls

Mayor Bloomberg’s executive budget is out today, and it comes with some familiar news: a budget surplus.

The fiscal year is expected to end next month with a $3.2 billion surplus, according to the mayor’s budget presentation delivered today at City Hall, some welcome news that makes it easier to balance next year’s budget. But even with the surplus for this year, next year’s budget is a tough one (tax revenues are low, while benefits and wages are up), and thus the mayor is calling for significant job cuts to balance the city’s books. 

This is most certainly a trend, apparently due to the city’s conservative–perhaps excessively conservative–forecasting, given that the surpluses happen in the good times and the bad.

Here’s a rundown of the surpluses seen in the past few fiscal years (they’re identified in budget documents as “fiscal stabilization,” with the surpluses rolled into the budgets for the following years, acting as a rainy day fund).

2010: $3.27 billion

2009: $2.8 billion

2008: $4.62 billion

2007: $4.67 billion

2006: $3.75 billion

2005: $3.5 billion

2004: $1.9 billion

This isn’t to say that City Hall is necessarily flush with money. The current year uses up more than $5 billion in rainy day funds to balance the budget, and next year’s proposed budget is $62.9 billion, down from $63.5 billion.

As for future projections: the budget office anticipates budget gaps of $3.8 billion in 2012 and $4.6 billion in 2013. 

ebrown@observer.com