NYC Mayor, Council Agree on $70B Budget Plan
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council on Sunday announced an agreement on a $70 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 that does not raise taxes and avoids major layoffs.
"Our Administration's final budget reflects the commitment to sound financial management that has helped keep our City on firm financial footing, and to the services and programs New Yorkers rely on," Bloomberg said and a press conference with Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democratic mayoral hopeful.
The 2014 budget plan restores funding for child care and after-school programs that were slated to be cut. It also includes $58 million for the New York City Housing Authority, which lost money as a result of the federal sequestration. The funds will be used for public housing and to maintain senior centers.
"By working together, we ensured that libraries and pools will stay open, parks will be maintained, and preserved both vital childcare seats and after school programs that middle class families depend on," Quinn said.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the budget agreement allocates $250 million for measures to protect the city from future coastal storms and the impact of climate change, including $47 million for coastal protection improvements on the East Shore of Staten Island and $40 million to raise bulkheads in low-lying neighborhoods.
The agreement also increases funding for the city's library system, which will allow for, on average, more than five days of service throughout the system, and prevents the closure of fire companies.
Bloomberg said taxes were kept steady in part because of the recent state Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the city's plan to sell new taxi permits, or medallions. Officials say the sale is expected to raise $300 million next year.
This year, the budget dance unfolded against a backdrop of questions about whether the city may have to find billions of dollars for retroactive raises if new labor agreements are reached.
Teachers, jail officers and many other city employees have been working with expired contracts, some for several years. Bloomberg's budget proposal doesn't set aside money to pay for the retroactive raises workers may be owed.
New York City Comptroller John Liu, another Democratic mayoral hopeful, blasted the mayor for not putting money away in anticipation of future labor deals.
"On his way out the door, Mayor Bloomberg shows us with this budget agreement that he has left the biggest question — expired labor contracts — for another mayor and another day," Liu said in a statement.
The City Council is expected to vote on the budget agreement this week.