NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled a preliminary budget for the next fiscal year that includes billions of dollars in new spending, but officials admit the health of the city’s finances could make it a target for cuts in state aid.
De Blasio frequently talks about a tale of two cities, but this year – with the fiscal health of the city and the state going in opposite directions – he faces a tale of two budgets, reports CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer.
Since the city’s $95.3 billion preliminary budget reflects an increase of over $2 billion, it is ripe fruit – tantalizing pickings for state officials looking for help in closing a $6 billion budget gap.
“Look there’s some really intense things we would have to do if it was really bad,” de Blasio said.
The state’s desire to cut aid to New York City is no secret. In his State of the State speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated he was already looking at the $2 billion the state gives the city in Medicaid payments.
The city expects its health and hospitals system, which serves over 1 million New Yorkers, to be hit with cuts.
New York City is also worried about an additional $3 billion it has to pay for the MTA’s capital plan.
CBS2’s Kramer asked the mayor if he would look for other sources of funding.
“Would you ask the Legislature to consider, so that you wouldn’t have to deal with these painful cuts, to consider, you know, maybe some target tax hikes?” Kramer asked.
“The wealthy are not paying their fair share in taxes. That is true in New York State. That’s true all over this country,” de Blasio said.
Although saying he’s being cautious, there’s still millions in new spending, including wage hikes for city workers, MTA fare discounts for low-income New Yorkers, improvements in NYCHA community centers, and $98 million in Vision Zero money to improve street safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn.
“We still have to make key investments on affordable housing, on transportation and on quality-of-life issues that affect neighborhoods all across the city,” NYC Council Speaker Cory Johnson said.
During budget negotiations, the City Council will try to add millions of dollars for pet projects. Just how much they get could depend on how successful de Blasio is in staving off Albany budget cuts.
The governor’s press secretary Dani Lever released the following statement: “We have heard of smoke and mirrors and political straw men, but how the mayor can claim he is reacting to cuts from the State before the State has even proposed a budget is spreading the political cream cheese too thick even for a toasted bagel.”