Here Is Bill de Blasio’s Budget Announcement

Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Diana Robinson/NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Diana Robinson/NYC Mayor’s Office)

Bill de Blasio today unveiled his executive budget, which sets a vision for city governance, the mayor argued, that is “fiscally responsible, progressive and honest” for the next four years of his term.

Mr. de Blasio had previously presented his  “preliminary budget” in February, which set the stage for public comment and negotiations over the past three months. Today’s announcement represents Mr. de Blasio’s final proposal, though the City Council will still get to weigh in with their own ideas.

The Observer will go into additional detail later this afternoon, but for now, here is Mr. de Blasio’s full announcement:

Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio presented New York City’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, a fiscally responsible plan that reflects the administration’s priorities and moves the city in a new, progressive direction.

The Mayor’s executive budget acknowledges the short term and long term risks facing the city—notably the $2 billion structural deficit in FY 2016—and begins to address serious fiscal and management issues that previously went ignored. With the landmark deal reached with the UFT in May 2014, the executive budget removes one of the most significant uncertainties of the financial plan, which now reflects the UFT pattern of a 10 percent increase over seven years.

This $73.9 billion FY 2015 budget invests in our children, creates economic opportunity for more New Yorkers, dramatically expands affordable housing in New York City, protects the most vulnerable citizens, and makes the city safer. This budget also takes major steps toward addressing New York City’s fiscal health by addressing income inequality, prioritizing infrastructure improvements, and establishing clear and affordable capital commitments.

The de Blasio administration is continuing efforts begun under the preliminary budget to end the “budget dance” by further reforming the budget process and moving forward shared priorities with the City Council.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

With the U.S. economy growing at a moderate pace, we are fortunate to be in a stronger situation than we were a few years ago. While we have addressed many concerns, there are still plenty of risks ahead. Most notably, all New Yorkers are not sharing in the benefits of our growing economy, as income inequality remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression. The rate of New Yorkers struggling economically has increased over the last five years, with 46 percent at or near the poverty line, according to the latest NYC Center for Economic Opportunity report.

A RESPONSIBLE BUDGET

The de Blasio administration’s FY 2015 Executive Budget is a fiscally-responsible plan that continues to put New York City’s financial house back in order. The executive budget, like the preliminary budget, acknowledges significant risks, including continued federal uncertainty and unforeseen economic events that could damage the fragile recovery.

  • The Structural Deficit: The budget for FY 2014 and FY 2015 remains balanced. While the city is facing deficits of $2.2 billion for FY 2016, $2 billion for FY 2017 and $3.2 billion for FY 2018, these gaps are well below historical averages, and the city will take necessary steps to maintain budget balance through all years of the financial plan.
  • Labor Contracts: The entire city workforce—more than 150 collective bargaining units—worked without contracts for years. The de Blasio administration has begun to address this unprecedented and unstable fiscal challenge, and, in settling the UFT contract that is now in final ratification, removed one of the major financial plan uncertainties.

o   The UFT contract, which will provide a 10 percent increase over the seven-year period, forms the basis for the budgeted labor reserve.

o   The Municipal Labor Council has endorsed a plan to secure $3.4 billion in health care savings, plus an additional $1 billion from the health stabilization fund, from FY 2015 – FY 2018, which would offset a portion of the cost of implementing the pattern for all municipal bargaining units. These savings are enforceable by arbitration.

  • Key State and Federal Commitments: The de Blasio administration has secured funding from the state for high-quality, full-day universal pre-K programs, as well as the largest school aid increase in years and key funds for after-school programs. The federal Medicaid waiver provides critical funds for health care.

A PROGRESSIVE BUDGET THAT REFLECTS OUR VALUES

The executive budget reflects Mayor de Blasio’s progressive values, with $248 million in new initiatives to invest in New York City’s children, create economic opportunity for all New Yorkers, expand affordable housing, protect the most vulnerable, and make New York City safer.

Investing in New York City’s Children

  • High-Quality, Universal, Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten: Mayor de Blasio’s executive budget begins a major expansion of full-day universal pre-K to ensure that all 4-year-olds are set up for long-term success, including $300 million for 53,000 seats in FY 2015 and $340 million for 73,000 seats in FY 2016.
  • Middle School After-School Programs: The executive budget includes an unprecedented investment of $145 million in FY 2015 to fund 34,000 new seats to serve nearly 100,000 middle school children. It also expands summer programs to serve 33,000 children in FY 2015.
  • Additional Investments in NYC Public Schools: This budget will start to address space conditions in the city’s schools, reducing overcrowding and the use of trailers. It also allocates $20 million in FY 2015 for arts education.

Investing in CUNY

  • Preparing More Young People for STEM Careers: The executive budget invests $20 million in FY 2015—growing to $50 million in the out years—to expand programs to  help thousands of CUNY community college students earn their STEM degrees faster with additional tuition support, counseling, and even tutoring where needed. These initiatives will impact nearly 5,000 students in Year One.

Creating More Economic Opportunity 

  • Following Through on the Mayor’s Pledge to Reduce Arbitrary and Overly Punitive Fines: Total fine revenues in the executive budget are projected to decline from $859 million in FY 2012 to $789 million in FY 2015—an 8 percent decrease. This includes a reduction of 44 percent in DOH fines and 21 percent in DCA fines from FY 2012 to FY 2015.
  • Sandy Recovery: The executive budget reflects the Mayor’s prioritization of Sandy recovery, including the overhaul of recovery programs announced last month. By investing in Build It Back—including expanded eligibility and additional staff, such as building inspectors—the administration will expedite relief, while engaging communities and creating local jobs. Additionally, the administration will provide financial relief to Sandy victims through water bill, property tax, and building fee relief, as well as expanded rental assistance eligibility.

Dramatically Expanding Affordable Housing

  • Affordable Housing Plan: The executive budget aims to boost economic opportunity and put more New Yorkers on stronger financial footing through its plan to expand affordable housing in the city, including $41 billion in capital investment over 10 years to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.

o   This will create approximately 194,000 construction jobs and 7,100 permanent jobs.

  • Redirecting Resources into NYCHA Maintenance and Security: The executive budget provides an additional $70 million in relief to NYCHA to address the backlog of repairs and enhance security. This is on top of the $52.5 million in relief outlined in the preliminary budget.

Protecting the City’s Most Vulnerable

Mayor de Blasio’s executive budget aims to prevent and reduce the city’s staggering homelessness rates, while creating permanent housing options, through investments like:

  • Fully funding HASA 30 percent rent cap for low-income New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS
  • Consolidating anti-eviction legal services under the Human Resources Administration
  • Beginning a multi-year proposal to implement a new Working Families Subsidy Program, in coordination with the state
  • Funding 100 new crisis shelter beds for runaway and homeless youth, including 24 beds for LGBT youth

This budget also achieves shelter savings by reducing rates and working with the state to reinvest in permanent solutions, and makes additional key investments to protect our children.

Making New York City Safer

  • Vision Zero: Mayor de Blasio’s executive budget strategically allocates funds toward his interagency goal of eliminating the city’s traffic fatalities. Specifically, the budget adds $28.8 million for DOT initiatives, including the installation of 50 speed bumps near schools, the development of neighborhood slow zones, the installation of speed cameras, and intersection redesigns; $13 million for NYPD traffic enforcement; and $1.1 million for TLC’s safety squad ad campaign.
  • Prioritizing Infrastructure Repairs: The executive budget increases the city’s road resurfacing investment by $49 million, to a total of $226 million FY 2015 to resurface 1,000 lane miles, while prioritizing investment in bridges by allocating an additional $346 million for maintenance.
  • Better Facilities for the NYPD: The budget adds $110 million over the next three years to rehabilitate two NYPD precincts and construct a new 40th Precinct in the South Bronx.

A MORE HONEST BUDGET

Working with the City Council on Shared Priorities

The de Blasio administration is committed to enacting an honest budget by ending the “budget dance” that has obstructed fiscal progress and responsibility in past years. Working with the Council, the administration continues funding allocated in the November Plan to ensure continuity of community and other services. It also includes:

  • Restoration of 20 fire companies in the preliminary budget
  • $6 million for anti-gun violence initiatives
  • $8.5 million for Summer Youth Employment Program
  • $1 million for HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program
  • $2.6 million to expand senior case management

Executive Capital Plan

The city continues its efforts to right-size the capital plan as a step toward a more honest and realistic timeframe for accomplishing its goals, ahead of the Ten Year Capital Plan, to be released in January 2015. Even with key capital investments, including the Mayor’s new affordable housing plan, debt service will remain under 15 percent of tax revenues.