The Coming Budget Crunch

by Optimization with an Impact (OpIm)

The NYC mayoral candidates have big spending plans. Do we know how they plan to accomplish them? Are they printing money in order to do so?

Bill Thompson wants to put 2,000 extra cops on the street at a cost of $200 million a year. One of his rivals, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, pledges to introduce universal pre-K in the city’s schools, a project with a $530 million annual price tag. Thompson, deBlasio, and another candidate, New York City comptroller John Liu, want to build at least 60,000 units of new subsidized housing over the next four years. The bill for that could dwarf the cost of the police and school proposals.

This makes anyone wonders if they are aware of the fiscal challenges that the City of New York is facing.

  • Spending from city revenues rose from $28.9 billion when Bloomberg took office to $47.5 billion in fiscal year 2012 and will be an estimated $50.2 billion in 2013—a staggering 70 percent increase per resident.
  • The tab for workers’ health care more than doubled, from $2 billion a year to $4.8 billion. Retirees add another $1.6 billion.
  • According to the Citizens Budget Commission, total city debt hit $105 billion last year—almost double what it was when Bloomberg entered City Hall
  • The budget allocation for annual interest payments on debt jumped from $3.9 billion in 2002 to $5.8 billion in 2012, according to New York City’s Independent Budget Office.
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