New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released his proposed $84.86 billion executive budget Wednesday — a plan that comes in the shadow of threatened cuts by the Trump administration and is about 3 percent higher than the $82.2 billion comparable budget he put out exactly a year ago.
While de Blasio highlighted about $5.25 billion in rainy-day reserves in the proposal, he said spending isn’t being curbed to cushion the blow from possible federal cuts.
“We could sit around, dead in the water, just waiting for the unknown, or we could keep moving and keep building our city,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “But God forbid something happens that’s really going to hurt our people. We have plenty of ways to respond in real time.”
The plan includes $36 million — increasing to $177 million by 2021 — for a full-day “3-K for All” program for every city 3-year-old, and $28.75 million over five years to install air conditioning in every public school classroom.
It also allocates $16.4 million to fund attorneys and other legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and other “challenges” under Trump, the mayor said.
The city’s budget season began earlier this year, with de Blasio’s preliminary proposal submitted in January. The spending plan he released Wednesday is subject to City Council hearings and internal negotiations. By law, the budget must be enacted by July 1, the start of the 2018 fiscal year.
De Blasio’s Republican challengers for mayor panned the proposal.
“20% or $14B increase in city budget in just 3.5 yrs is unsustainable This is the people’s money, not yours @NYCMayor! #WatchYourWallets NY!” tweeted state Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island).
The plan also imposes a “partial hiring freeze affecting certain managerial and administrative staff,” de Blasio said at a City Hall presentation Wednesday afternoon. Asked for details, such as the projected savings, number of affected workers or job titles, de Blasio said the specifics are still being developed.
In a statement, GOP mayoral candidate and real estate executive Paul Massey said: “Bill de Blasio is a terrible manager, so as spending has gone up, the quality of services has gone down.”
De Blasio ridiculed as a “pipe dream” President Donald Trump’s the tax plan, which would reduce taxes on the highest earners and eliminate the deductibility of state and local taxes.
“No longer having deductibility on state and local taxes will push up the tax rates for a lot of New Yorkers and lot of people around the country,” de Blasio said, adding: “It just creates a very negative domino effect where I think it’s disruptive of the ability of government at all levels to serve people.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio said, he would not oppose the Metropolitan Museum of Art — which is in a city-owned building and must by law be free — charging out-of-towners a mandatory entry fee, as long as resident of the five boroughs continue to get in for free.
New York City budget highlights
- “3-K for All” classes for every 3-year-old in the city: $36 million
- Air conditioning in every public school classroom: $28.75 million.
- Funds to reduce opioid overdose deaths: $38 million
- Expansion of ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology: $720,000
- Building a 32-mile pedestrian promenade and bike path around Manhattan: $100 million
- Exploring the design of jails to replace the current ones on Rikers Island with community ones: $1 billion