De Blasio to unveil final budget proposal on Thursday
After weeks of negotiations at City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to release his final budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.
Back in February, the mayor called for $73.7 billion to pay for his first year’s agenda, which he called both aggressive and progressive at the time.
Some of the questions that loomed over that initial announcement have been answered — at least partially.
On Monday, de Blasio unveiled a $41 billion, ten-year plan to address the city’s shrinking stock of affordable housing that would commit at about $8 billion from the city’s coffers.
Budget experts, however, have been left asking how the city’s capital budget — which is generally devoted to long-term projects — might be affected by such a promise.
Last week, de Blasio settled a $5.5 billion, nine-year contract with the United Federation of Teachers that called for both school reforms and retroactive pay that the mayor has argued would serve as a template for the remaining 150-something contracts.
There haven’t been any big surprises since de Blasio’s original announcement, said
Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said she will be looking for the administration to detail how it will fulfill its commitment give teachers’ retroactive pay without putting a burden on future budgets.
“It not only affects this mayoral term but the following as well,” she explained.
The deal with the teacher’s union also includes $1.3 billion in healthcare savings, but Gelinas explained that those details hadn’t been fully explained by the administration either.
Meanwhile, the administration has also been mum on how much the city is ready to commit to its long-term infrastructure.
De Blasio’s preliminary budget expected to have spent $8 billion dollars on capital projects by the end of the current fiscal year. That decreases to $7.3 billion under de Blasio’s first budget, then again to $6.8 billion the following year before sinking to 6.1 billion in three year’s time.Jonathan Bowles, executive director for think tank the Center for an Urban Future, that he would be looking to de Blasio’s final budget to see where the city might do in regards to its infrastructure woes.
“The question is where is the money going to come from given all of the administration’s priorities,” he said, adding that the city would need more than one year’s budget to fully address the issue.
Infrastructure spending already came up as conflict between the City Council and administration. The lawmakers requested an additional $257 million to the overall budget, some of which would go to cuts the mayor’s office made to the city’s road resurfacing budget.
The city has previously spent up to $180 million on city roads in recent years. The original de Blasio budget knocked it down to $127 million.
The Council also made another request in its budget proposals that raised some concerns from the administration.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced they requested $94.3 million to got to more cops on the streets and $26.3 million for 500 new civilian staffers at NYPD, but both de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have hesitated to get behind increased head counts.
The city has until July 1 to adopt the budget.
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria