Statement on Mayor de Blasio's Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2015
New York, NY - The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) today issued the following statement by CBC President Carol Kellermann:
The Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 contains a double dose of good news: there is more money than had been anticipated, and it will be put to prudent use.
The Preliminary Budget recognizes additional tax revenue in the current fiscal year, which will be used primarily to restore $1 billion to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund. The Fund, established in 2006 to build reserves to fund the City's $92.5 billion retiree health liability, has been used since 2010 to help balance the budget. The restoration, which avoids depleting the Fund, is a constructive step toward addressing this serious looming problem. No further withdrawals from this fund should occur unless and until clear guidelines for its use have been established.
The Preliminary Budget also sensibly increases the reserves set aside in future years of the financial plan from$300 million to $600 milIion annually. The reserves help mitigate the budgetary risks posed by the settlement of expired municipal labor contracts, the impact of state and federal budget decisions, and the precarious financial status of the New York City Housing Authority and the Health and Hospitals Corporation.
It must be remembered that just as today's sunshine may turn into tomorrow's storm, today's fiscal good news may well precede serious challenges in the months ahead.