Mayor de Blasio's 2019 Executive Budget
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposes to spend nearly $89 billion in fiscal year 2019, representing a $3.5 billion increase over the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The mayor’s budget is significantly higher than what he planned in February for the upcoming year, increasing expected spending by $1.1 billion.
The mayor claimed in his speech today to be fiscally prudent. Yet the mayor continues to increase spending for new government programs, consuming record tax revenues during a boom that should be set aside for a potential recession. At $1.25 billion, the city’s reserves are simply not enough to avoid deep cuts in public services were a national downturn to occur.
De Blasio’s biggest new spending push is in education, with $265 million in new spending, $140 million of which makes up for a state cut. The mayor has chosen education spending over funding the “fair fare” program; $212 million to defray subway-fare costs for poorer New Yorkers, championed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Despite the mayor’s rhetoric on a partial hiring freeze and savings, the city’s record number of city employees continues to increase, from 330,818 today to 331,210 expected by the end of next fiscal year.
Overall, the fifth de Blasio budget looks much like the first four: because of a booming national and city economy, the mayor has the freedom to increase spending on a variety of projects, some worthy and some less so, without having to make difficult choices. Without much bigger labor reserves, though, this mayor or his success.