Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his $73.9 billion executive budget on Thursday, which included significant new expenditures in education, housing and municipal payrolls, but little in the way of savings or additional revenue raisers, The New York Times reports.
The proposal, which would increase spending by 6 percent over last year’s plan, falls in line with the mayor’s loudly liberal agenda to right societal wrongs and improve the working conditions of city workers.
And like with his recent contract deal with the teacher’s union, his aim with the executive budget is to fund much of the increased spending through a number of proposed savings.
“Part of being an honest progressive is recognizing the world as it is,” he said at a news conference in City Hall. “If you believe in the positive role of government as I do, then you need a strong and stable foundation.”
Funding for the library system will be increased by 25 percent from last year. The public-housing network will receive an additional $70 million to address security issues and a repair backlog. Student aid programs at the City University of New York were granted $20 million in funding.
And the mayor directed $29 million for traffic safety measures, including new speed cameras, speed bumps and traffic enforcement agents, in keeping with his heavily promoted “Vision Zero” plan to reduce traffic deaths.
Some fiscal experts said on Thursday that they were concerned about how the mayor would be able to pay for all of his proposed spending: Whereas his expenditures were clear, his plans for saving remained murky.
“This is a grand experiment,” Carol Kellermann, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, said, noting that the mayor did not include specific plans for tax increases or other spending cuts to offset municipal costs. “There are a lot of unknowns about this.”
A final budget must be negotiated with the City Council by the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1.