Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his $82.2 billion executive budget for 2017 today, bolstering his preliminary budget by $100 million while creating billions of dollars in savings, money the mayor says we'll need when economy tanks again.
When de Blasio first announced his budget in January, he voiced a lack of faith in the state's willingness to support the city in the event of an economic downturn, and warned that "we're well past the average point where a recovery turns back to a recession. That alone should concern us."
Accordingly, he asked agency heads to identify further areas for savings (without cutting jobs or services), and today he announced an additional $1.25 billion in savings, on top of the $1 billion announced in the preliminary budget, a move the Mayor's Office says is "the largest spending reduction program in the last five years."
"We are the government of last resort," de Blasio said today. "Whether that means taking care of undocumented folks, people who are poor, and the homeless—state and federal government can walk away; we're left to deal with this situation...In the event of an economic crisis, I guarantee you the state and federal government will close their doors quickly."
De Blasio's lack of confidence in the state was equally apparent when he was discussing the $66 million in funding allocated for homeless services. Cuomo has openly criticized de Blasio's handling of the homelessness crisis in New York City, despite the fact that homelessness increased substantially after Cuomo and then-mayor Bloomberg cut funding for the Advantage rent subsidy voucher in 2011.
Today, the mayor noted that the city is still waiting on $220 million allocated by the state last year to fight homelessness.
"There has to be a willingness of higher levels of government to step in and help," de Blasio said. "What we're talking about now is basic divisions of labor."
This budget includes $1.5 million—and up to $20 million—for much-needed Board of Elections reforms. De Blasio announced these funds yesterday, responding to the fact that 126,000 voters were removed from the list of registered Democrats in Brooklyn before last week's primary and just one BOE official was suspended as a result.
"We want to send a very clear message to the Board of Elections that we do not accept the status quo there, that we want to see fundamental reform," de Blasio said today. "In terms of some of the larger investments that we would ideally like to make, we need to see that they would be accompanied by reforms."
This budget also includes nearly $2 billion for NYC Health + Hospitals, which, as detailed in a report released today, is creeping toward $1.8 billion in debt by 2020.
Here's a breakdown of the other major expenditures announced today:
- $70 million in capital funds to build a new, fully staffed 116th Precinct in southeast Queens, allowing for faster response times and improved crime fighting.
- $5 million in FY17 - growing to $9.8 million in FY18 - for an additional 50 more ambulance tours to ensure faster response times for high-priority, life-threatening emergencies in Queens and the Bronx.
- $5.5 million in FY17 - growing to $11 million in FY19 - for a new, comprehensive effort to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
- $161 million in FY17 - growing to $310 million in FY18, with support from the State - to raise the Fair Student Funding level for all schools to an average of 91 percent (with no school less than 87 percent) in FY17, and 92.5 percent (with no school less than 90 percent) in FY18.
- $17 million in FY17 for the Mayor’s Equity & Excellence plan, to provide individually-tailored college plans and to ensure every high school student has access to AP courses.
- $9 million in FY17 - growing to $40 million in FY19 - to ensure every elementary school is compliant with the State physical education mandate.
- Tripling of Intensive-Care Mental Health Units on Rikers Island: $8.7 million in FY17 - growing to $24.2 million in FY20 - to add and staff eight new Program to Accelerate Clinical Effectiveness (PACE) units; $2.7 million starting in FY17 to expand pre-arraignment screening in Manhattan; and $2.5 million in FY17 - ramping up to $5 million in FY18 - to expand Hepatitis-C treatment in the City’s jails. The budget also includes $1.9 million in capital funds to improve and speed up patient care through telehealth and 12 new mini-clinics.
- $21 million in capital funds for new snow removal equipment, focused on increasing responsiveness on smaller, narrow streets.
- A total of $685 million in capital funds in this budget and the upcoming Ten Year Capital Strategy to accelerate construction of the remaining shafts for the Brooklyn/Queens section of Water Tunnel No. 3, while getting the tunnel activation-ready even earlier and creating a new connection to Staten Island.
- $276 million in additional capital funds for reconstruction of key bridges: the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge.
- An additional $186 million to repave 1,300 lane miles in FY18, bringing FY18 in line with FY17, which will see the highest level of resurfacing in over a decade.
- $122 million to fully eliminate the Water Board rental payment, providing $183 credits to 1-3 family households and $250 credits to eligible multi-family properties.
- $42 million in capital funds to purchase four new ferries and reconstruct a ferry pier at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, part of the citywide ferry system.
- $170 million in City funds for storm water management infrastructure to complement the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street, which is funded by $335 million in federal dollars and expected to break ground next year.
- $27.5 million in City funds for the Two Bridges section of Lower Manhattan Protect and Connect flood protection, complementing the $176 million recently secured from the federal government, as well as the over $100 million in city funds already invested in the overall project (around the tip of Lower Manhattan).
- $5.6 million in FY17 - growing to $16.8 million in FY18 - to increase funding for Beacon programs that provide after-school and community services to 70,000 youth and 65,000 adults a year.
- $10 million in capital funds for land acquisition and design for two new full-service animal shelters in Queens and the Bronx.
- $12 million for FY17 to add more than 500 more Parks Department seasonal employees to provide enhanced maintenance and operations at parks, playgrounds and other facilities during peak season.
- $50 million in capital funds for an indoor pool on Staten Island.