Statement on NYC Preliminary Budget FY 2020
Today Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) President Andrew Rein released this statement on behalf of CBC:
In this uncertain economic environment, Mayor Bill de Blasio is right to urge caution and has announced the first Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) of his administration to be implemented in the Executive Budget. But for now, the City of New York Preliminary Budget Fiscal Year 2020 shows modest restraint in spending growth. Greater recurring savings from making government more efficient are needed to bolster reserves and make certain that the City can provide critical services to New Yorkers in both good times and bad.
Unlike in prior budgets, the City is not recognizing significant new revenues; tax forecasts are holding fairly steady but not generating a sizeable surplus. Nevertheless, City-funded spending growth is projected to increase 3.4 percent in fiscal year 2020 and is accompanied by continued growth in workforce. The financial plan includes a Citywide Savings Program with mostly one-time savings in fiscal year 2019 from revenue actions and re-estimates; few initiatives streamline operations.
Much bolder action is needed to ensure the City is prepared for an economic downturn. Spending growth should be limited to inflation and reserves should be increased. The PEG announced today should be developed with an eye to making operations more efficient and generating recurring savings.
The City also released a Preliminary Ten-Year Capital Strategy for Fiscal Years 2020 to 2029 which for the first time exceeds $100 billion; specifically it totals $104.1 billion, an 8.7 percent increase over the prior ten-year strategy. CBC will examine the details of the Strategy in weeks to come to assess whether the proposed projects are justified by improved service or return on investment.