Monday, June 30, 2014

On-Time, Balanced Budget Approved By Council

  Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and members of the City Council announced an agreement for an on-time and balanced City budget for Fiscal Year 2015—marking one of the earliest budget handshakes in recent history. The Council approved the budget with a vote of 50-0-1.
The $75 billion budget represents a fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest approach to the City’s finances, moving forward key initiatives that will improve the vitality of the city and address income inequality, while strengthening our fiscal health.
The vote follows a more honest budget process that ended the cynical “budget dance” and reflects a more productive and respectful relationship between the administration and the Council.
The adopted budget will continue to move forward the Mayor’s signature initiatives, including high-quality, universal pre-K, after-school and summer programming for middle schoolers, critical investments to lower the homelessness rate, a comprehensive affordable housing plan, a reduction in arbitrary and punitive small business fines, and Vision Zero. It also includes major new initiatives, developed with the Council, including a comprehensive anti-violence initiative at NYCHA developments, key investments to provide mental health services in city jails, and much more.
Key budget monitors and investors have validated the prudent way in which this administration has handled its first budget, which keeps out-year gaps and debt service at management levels that are well below the prior two administrations’ averages. The administration has also kept the city’s reserves strong – in fact, the annual general reserves (or “rainy day funds”) are more robust than in any previous administration.
All three major rating agencies recently affirmed the City’s strong, stable ratings, highlighting the City’s “highly effective budget management.” The City also just finished its first major bond sale since the labor agreement and executive budget; the sale increased in size from the planned $850 million to over $1 billion, reflecting extremely strong demand, while the City secured low interest rates that resulted in significant savings.
Fitch Ratings specifically stated, “the city’s sound approach to budget development features reasonable revenue and expenditure forecasting, proactive budget monitoring, and effective actions to eliminate projected deficits.”
As the Independent Budget Office testified before the Council earlier this month, “Contrary to the assertions of some fiscal observers, the city’s budget gaps are not ballooning. By historical standards, the budget shortfalls we anticipate are relatively modest.”

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