De Blasios reckless final budget means big trouble for the next mayor — and you
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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s just-unveiled final budget removes all doubt: He’s desperate to spend as much as possible before leaving office in eight months. When the kitty runs dry afterward, well . . . he won’t have to deal with it.
His $98.6 billion spending plan for the year starting July 1 would burn most of the extra billions just sent from Washington — but leaves holes of $4 billion a year for the next mayor. (Make it $5 billion a year “if” the labor savings he promised last year, but failed to deliver, never materialize.)
Yes, the city has greater needs thanks to COVID and the lockdowns. Students, for example, are tragically behind, thanks to schools shuttered for far too long.
So de Blasio sets aside $500 million for “assessment” and tutoring. Yet he himself proved all too clearly — by, for instance, wasting $773 million on his failed Renewal Schools — that throwing money at problems doesn’t fix them.
He’d also shell out $377 million to expand the city’s 3-K program this year, but future-year funding would be in doubt. Other programs, too, would grow, as would the city workforce, even though it’s already 5-plus percent larger than when he took office.
De Blasio claims new revenue will flow in and close future budget gaps once the economy recovers post-COVID, but that won’t happen unless folks feel safe — and for that the NYPD needs resources. Yet for what’s arguably Gotham’s biggest problem, soaring violent crime and chaos in the streets, the mayor offers virtually no extra funds for police.
How tragic that the windfall from DC is only going to feed de Blasio’s recklessness. It should “provide the city with the runway needed to restructure its spending while preserving critical services and supporting pandemic hardship,” Citizens Budget Commission head Andrew Rein notes, yet de Blasio’s budget instead “needlessly leaves the next mayor to solve significant fiscal problems tomorrow that this budget should have started to address today.”
Whether that next mayor is forced to hike taxes, cut services or both, average New Yorkers will pay.
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