After nearly twelve years in office Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is poised to leave office on December 31st of this year. One of his last acts as mayor of immediate and possible long-term impact is adoption of a final budget for the upcoming 2014 fiscal year.
Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who is a mayoral candidate herself, reached agreement June 23 on an executive budget plan that calls for $69.8 billion in spending, with no tax increases or cuts to essential city services.
In proposing the budget back in May, Mayor Bloomberg lauded his fiscal plan as being devoid of tax increases or major service reductions. He said the budget was balanced as well. “Responsible management of the budget has allowed us to increase education investments so our public schools continue to improve, and investments in economic development have diversified the city’s economy and spurred job creation, generating new revenue streams for the city,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “But even with our fiscal discipline, the costs we cannot control without help from our partners in labor and in Albany continue to siphon money away from services and remain a long-term challenge. Until we make meaningful reforms to our healthcare and fringe benefit programs, the services that have dramatically improved the quality of life for New Yorkers will be left to either compete for a smaller and smaller share of the city’s budget or rely on significant tax increases that will halt our economic growth and competitiveness.”
The city-funded portion of the budget accounts for $50.2 billion, according to Bloomberg, who noted that while year-over-year controllable expenses remain flat, non-controllable expenses (primarily pensions and fringe benefits) still continue to rise. Non-controllable expenses will increase yet again in 2014 by 7.6 percent or $1.7 billion, from $21.7 billion in FY 2013 to $23.4 billion in FY 2014.
The mayor reported that the budget was balanced through billions of dollars in agency savings actions and increased revenues from the city’s economic growth, benefiting from a more diversified economy led by the tech, film and television, tourism and higher education sectors.