New $74 billion De Blasio budget recommits to progressive agenda
More details behind Mayor Bill de Blaiso’s first ever budget came out on Thursday as he released his $73.9 billion executive budget.
Much like during his preliminary budget release in February, the new mayor framed his administration’s financial goals as ones centered around a responsible, honest and progressive budget.
“There is nothing unprogressive about being fiscally prudent,” de Blasio said, harkening back to his long-standing commitment to reduce New York City’s income inequality. “In fact, it’s necessary.”
De Blasio described the city’s economy as generally strong, crediting predecessor former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for diversifying the economy. He also noted that the city had mostly rebounded from the 2008 economic collapse to make the case for cautious optimism.
Much of the mayor’s optimism for the city’s economy rests on his progressive priorities, including his battle for universal prekindergarten and his recently unveiled plan for affordable housing.
The prekindergarten program is slated to receive $300 million for the next fiscal year, and $340 for the following. On top of its broader goals on affordable housing released Monday, the administration said it would commit $70 to the Housing Authority to address the repair backlog and improve security within public housing.
On Vision Zero, the administration’s plan to eliminate pedestrian deaths, will see some $28.8 million designated towards speed cameras, slow zones and intersection redesigns. NYPD would receive $13 million towards its own traffic initiatives.
De Blasio said the budget was also drafted in a way to lessen financial burdens on small businesses, projecting fines collected by the Department of Health and the Department of Consumer Affairs to decrease to $789 million — an 8 percent drop from 2012 levels.
“This is about stabilizing small business and helping small business to create more jobs,” de Blasio said.
The mayor also announced a $226 million commitment to repair 1,000 lane miles around the city, and another $346 million towards marinating and rehabilitating local bridges.
The budget also allocates $110 million that will be spread out over three years to repair two as-of-yet unidentified New York Police Department precincts and build a new station house for the Bronx’s 40th Precinct.
And while the three precincts might get an upgrade, the mayor pushed back on a City Council-driven initiative to hire 1,000 new officers. De Blaiso told reporters that he understood the Council’s request was “heartfelt” but that the administration was confident it could do without more cops on the beat.
In response, Bronx City Councilwoman and Public Safety Committee Chair Vanessa Gibson called today’s announcement an “opening chapter and that she was hopeful “the administration will see the urgency of adding additional police to address the public safety needs of communities throughout the city.”
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria