De Blasio’s budget: Increased spending, not many cuts

Stephon Johnson | 5/15/2014, 10:47 a.m.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new budget wants to have its cake and eat it too.
Bill deBlasio

“We welcome the $8 million allocation in the city budget to the municipal IDs initiative,” said Sarsour in a statement. “Mayor de Blasio continues to show his commitment to New Yorkers by keeping his campaign promises. All New York City residents, regardless of immigration status, deserve a government-issued ID that gives them access to municipal buildings, bank accounts and more. Every New Yorker is going to want one of these cards.”

De Blasio’s budget also includes increased spending for the City University of New York, public housing, the homeless and summer jobs for teenagers. The budget also includes more spending to add child welfare caseworkers and reduce the number of trailers used as classrooms by public schools. Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress (the union that represents CUNY faculty and staff), welcomed the new funding with open arms.

“After years of underfunding, CUNY has a crying need for more full-time faculty and staff. With 4,000 fewer full-time faculty than when enrollments were last near current levels, the university struggles with larger classes and less availability of courses required for graduation,” said Bowen in a statement. “The mayor’s plan to invest $20 million in science, technology, engineering and math programs at the CUNY community colleges is a powerful first step in ending the era of public disinvestment in CUNY. It marks the beginning of achieving the mayor’s goal of dramatically increasing city support for CUNY.”

However, some agendas heavily pushed by New York City Council members—like providing free lunch for all public school students—didn’t make the cuts, though the details will be fleshed out in the next several months. Nonetheless, last week signaled a shift in what City Hall deems important enough for its money.

“We’re also trying to be clear about how much time it takes to spend the money effectively,” said de Blasio at City Hall. “In previous capital plans, we’ve seen some very unrealistic projections that really made it impossible to honestly track what was going to happen—money that was booked for things that literally couldn’t happen in one year or two years or three years. You’ll see in this plan a very different look from what you saw in the November plan of the previous administration— a spreading-out of the capital expenditures in a way that we think conforms to the actual reality of getting things done on the ground.”