Mayor Bill de Blasio portrays his preliminary $89 billion budget as a fiscally responsible plan to make the city a fairer place—his No. 1 priority—and to meet the demands of the city’s growth (the very first chart in his budget summary shows the increase in the city’s population, which reached 8.5 million in 2016).
He certainly has spent a lot of money in pursuit of those goals.
The $89 billion figure represents an increase of $16.5 billion from the last Bloomberg budget, according to figures from the Citizens Budget Commission that adjust the numbers for the rollover of surpluses, intergovernment transfers and reserves. The percentage increase is 22.7%, which is more than double the rate of inflation during the period. If he had merely kept pace with inflation, the budget would be a little over $80 billion—a big difference.
The Citizens Budget Commission and others have criticized the mayor for not protecting the city from the three major threats it faces: the prospect of significant budget cuts from the federal government, which sends the city something on the order of $7 billion a year; the potential loss of millionaire taxpayers to other states because of the impact of the Republican tax bill; and the fact that the city’s amazing economic boom, which next month will set a modern record for its length, will come to an end sooner rather than later.