NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City will have a budget surplus totaling $1.6 billion in fiscal years 2015 and 2016, due mainly to higher-than-anticipated tax revenues, the city's top financial watchdog said on Tuesday.
The higher tax revenues would be a boon to New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who predicted a balanced budget in both years when he outlined his spending plans earlier this month. De Blasio is committed to big-ticket items such as universal pre-school and affordable housing.
Tuesday's report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer predicts that tax revenues in 2015 and 2016 will be around $1 billion higher than the city's forecast, pointing to the city's "solid" economic recovery. New York City has the largest regional economy in the United States.
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The comptroller also predicts revenues will be $3.5 billion higher in the three following years through 2019. That would significantly narrow budget gaps the city has forecast in those years.
"New York City has benefited from a solid economic recovery, but the possibility of a downturn can never be discounted," Stringer said.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Dan Grebler)