Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, City Council Announce Early Agreement On Balanced, On-time Budget

June 19, 2014

Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAxhDrC5FjY

Agreement reflects administration’s commitment to a fiscally responsible, progressive, honest budget

Demonstrates productive relationship between administration, Council that ends budget dance and moves New York City forward

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and members of the City Council today announced an agreement for an on-time and balanced City budget for Fiscal Year 2015—marking one of the earliest budget handshakes in recent history. The agreement on an approximately $75 billion budget represents a fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest approach to the City’s finances, and moves forward key initiatives that will improve the health and vitality of the City by beginning to address income inequality, while strengthening the City’s fiscal health.

Today’s agreement follows a more honest budget process that ended the cynical “budget dance” and reflects the productive and respectful relationship between the administration and the Council.

“A budget agreement is where rhetoric meets the road—and we’ve delivered a fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest budget that will have an enormous impact on New Yorkers across the five boroughs, while protecting our City’s fiscal health. This is one of the earliest agreements in recent history—a result of the productive dynamic we’ve developed with the Council that ends the cynical budget dance and delivers results for New Yorkers. I’m grateful to Speaker Mark-Viverito, Chair Ferreras, and all of their colleagues in the Council for their partnership as we reached this historic agreement,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This budget process was substantive and thorough, and the result is an on-time and balanced budget that reflects the needs New Yorkers face in public safety, employment, education, health and infrastructure,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Through the Council’s advocacy, NYPD will very soon have more cops on the beat to help keep New Yorkers safe, and thousands of children will have access to free lunch through an important pilot program aimed at keeping our children healthy and focused on learning. This was a collaborative effort among all 51 City Council members who put in hundreds hours of hard work at meetings, hearings and briefings to create a budget that truly benefits the five boroughs. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Budget Director Dean Fuleihan, and the entire administration for working with the Council on a budget we can all be proud of.”  

“As Finance Chair, I am proud to say the FY15 budget process has had a level of unprecedented transparency and inclusion within the City Council. Under Speaker Mark-Viverito’s leadership and with the help and input of every single member of the City Council, we, as a body, were able to provide considerable insight and fight for our constituents’ needs with specificity and detailed knowledge. Each decision was made with great calculation and reflects our desire to close the growing inequality gap affecting so many residents in our City. After dozens of hours of budget hearings, which I was proud to Chair, our Council Committees heard from over 50 agencies about how this budget affects their ability to perform their core services. We also heard essential testimony from the public, whose needs never ceased to escape our minds as we spent hours in negotiations. I am pleased to see that many of the priorities we had championed throughout this process will be included in the adopted budget. These victories are shared by everyone, including the City Council, the Mayor, and the public,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Committee on Finance.

The Mayor worked closely with the Council to include their priorities in the budget.

Among a variety of initiatives, tonight’s agreement includes:

  • $19 million for a  comprehensive, citywide plan to reduce violent crime in NYCHA developments by increasing community engagement efforts and expanding neighborhood watch and domestic violence outreach teams—while providing key services to residents, including employment and benefits assistance, recreation, and mentorship
  • $32.5 million to provide increased programming and enhanced services to inmates with mental illness and reduce violence at Rikers Island Correctional Facilities
  • $6.2 million to hire 200 Police Administrative aides, allowing for an increase in the number of uniformed police officers on the streets to keep New Yorkers safe
  • $6.25 million to provide free school lunch to all middle schoolers starting this September
  • $17 million to keep 57 NYCHA community and senior centers open
  • $17.5 million for summer out-of-school time slots that will provide 10,700 summer youth jobs
  • $10 million to create additional child care vouchers for low-income families to ensure parents have access to quality child care

Key budget monitors and investors have validated the prudent way in which this administration has handled its first budget, which keeps out-year gaps and debt service at management levels that are well below historical averages. Earlier this month, all three major rating agencies affirmed the City’s strong, stable ratings, highlighting the City’s “highly effective budget management.” Last week, the City finished its first major bond sale since the labor agreement and executive budget; the sale increased in size from the planned $850 million to over $1 billion, reflecting extremely strong demand, while the City secured low interest rates that resulted in significant savings.

As announced in the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2015 Executive Budget, the budget also:

  • Invests in our children, including by delivering on the promise of universal, full-day pre-K for all 4-year-olds and an expansion of after-school and summer enrichment programs for middle school students
  • Protects the City’s most vulnerable, including through investments to prevent and reduce homelessness
  • Dramatically expands affordable housing, including by providing funding for the Mayor’s plan to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units over 10 years
  • Creates economic opportunity, including by following through on the Mayor’s pledge to reduce arbitrary and punitive fines on small businesses
  • Makes New York City safer, including by investing in the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce pedestrian traffic deaths to zero
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