Mayor Michael Bloomberg presents executive budget
Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented an executive budget as more than $1 billion in unexpected revenue from personal-income taxes, corporate levies and audits helped balance his final spending plan.
Bloomberg's $69.8 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 benefits from a one-time $800 million windfall from residents selling stocks and property last year to avoid capital-gains tax increases. Corporate levies and audits raised more than $400 million that wasn't expected in January, he said.
The budget, unveiled Thursday at a City Hall briefing, proposes no new taxes and calls for reduced spending on education, as the mayor called for in January.
Total spending is down from this year's $70.4 billion spending plan. Bloomberg forecast a $2.2 billion deficit for 2015. The city's budget must be balanced, under state law.
"The news today is reasonably good, as good as it's been in a long time," Bloomberg, 71, said.
The city still faces fiscal challenges. Billions of dollars in spending and revenue remain uncertain because of disputes over labor contracts and litigation that has stalled a plan to sell taxi cab medallions.
The spending plan "represents a holding-pattern budget that gets Bloomberg out the door, even as it leaves a passel of problems for his successor," said Comptroller John Liu, a Democrat running for his party's mayoral nomination.
The budget assumes the courts will permit the medallion sales to proceed. However, it reduces the expected revenue the transactions would yield in the current year to $300 million, down from $600 million Bloomberg forecast in his January preliminary spending plan. It still assumes the city would reap $1.5 billion from the sales over the next four years.
Spending cuts the mayor has proposed include $135 million for after-school and early-childhood education programs, which the advocacy group Campaign for Children said would affect 47,000 students.
City Council approval of the budget would hinge on restoration of all or part of those programs, said Speaker Christine Quinn, another Democrat running for mayor.
Quinn, in an emailed statement, said council members "remain troubled" by deep cuts to funding for children, libraries and firehouses.
"Cuts to these programs would do irreparable harm to our city's middle-class families," she said.