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De Blasio faults Albany cuts as he unveils proposed $89B budget

NYC will have to spend about $500 million more in the 2019 fiscal year because of reductions, cost shifts and unfunded mandates, the mayor said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio presents New York City's

Mayor Bill de Blasio presents New York City's Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 at City Hall in Manhattan on Thursday. The balanced budget totals $89.06 billion. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Bill de Blasio faulted Albany for imposing what he called cuts, cost shifts, unfunded mandates, and other unexpected expenses as the cause of nearly a quarter of New York City’s new spending — about $2 billion — in the $89.06 billion proposed budget he unveiled Thursday.

Gesturing at a PowerPoint slide titled “Hits from Albany,” de Blasio said city taxpayers would need to shoulder about $530 million more as a result of the state budget enacted April 1.

“On the bad news front,” said de Blasio, a Democrat, “we had a bad year in Albany.”

De Blasio, presiding over the City Hall Blue Room to discuss his executive budget for the 2019 fiscal year, listed some “hits,” — $254 million that Albany forced the city to contribute to an emergency Subway Action Plan for the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority; $140 million less in school aid than the city forecast receiving; $108 million in an unfunded mandate to imprison 16- and 17-year-old convicts who won’t be sent to state prison anymore and must be locked up in the city; and $31 million to be spent on juvenile offenders.

Asked about the mayor’s budget presentation, Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said: “Shockingly, the mayor’s math is wrong. He uses political advocacy math instead of numbers.”

Azzopardi said the city was receiving more money overall, but the city countered that the funding was still less than promised or owed.

De Blasio’s Thursday afternoon presentation represents a midpoint of sorts in the budget process that, by law, must conclude by July 1, the beginning of the city’s fiscal year. Negotiations are under way between the offices of the City Council speaker and the mayor.

The total amount of city spending proposed is $65.03 billion, and was $61.46 billion when adopted last year, according to de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein.

The budget of de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, was $70 billion for his final year in office. De Blasio has increased it every year, and it is now larger than ever.

What de Blasio is proposing does not include a priority of the council speaker, Corey Johnson, so-called fair fares, the half-priced MetroCards passes for about 800,000 commuters living at or beneath the federal poverty line. De Blasio said negotiations on the topic were ongoing.

The budget does include about $125 million more to bring more equity to the city’s inequitably-funded public schools, $41 million for cyber security, $2 million for a new online parking system, and $12 million to help students in shelters with more social workers.

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