Report City Budget

10 Myths About Balancing NYC's Budget

And 5 Ways to Lower the Cost of Government by $1B

Expand Table of Contents
December 06, 2002

Executive Summary

MYTH #1: The City's budget problem is not that bad. There are always big projected budget gaps, and the City always manages to close them.

MYTH #2: Only temporary solutions are needed, because the economy will soon rebound and generate sufficient revenues.

MYTH #3: Harsh budget cuts in recent years have debilitated City services.

MYTH #4: It's unrealistic to think that City government can become more efficient.

MYTH #5: City workers have suffered in recent years due to minimal pay increases that trail inflation.

MYTH #6: Only a small portion of the City budget can be cut, because most of the budget is mandated and, therefore, uncontrollable.

MYTH #7: Large tax cuts in the 1990s were sufficient to make New York City competitive with other major cities.

MYTH #8: Property tax increases are not harmful, because they are paid primarily by landlords who cannot leave the city.

MYTH #9: The State and federal governments can be counted on to provide significant aid to help close the City's budget gap.

MYTH #10: Borrowing, asset sales, and other one-time devices are an acceptable fall-back plan for balancing the budget.