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Citizens Budget Commission

Citizens Budget Commission

  • Inside New Yorkers’ Satisfaction, or Lack Thereof, with City Services

    de blasio town hall resident survey

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New Yorkers are notoriously opinionated, but how often do they get to tell city leaders what they think?

    In January the Citizens Budget Commission surveyed 72,000 randomly selected households across the five boroughs to ask about satisfaction with city services and quality of life. More than 10,000 New Yorkers responded and the results speak loudly about

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  • Government Watchdogs Push 'Clean Contracting' Reform in Albany

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    Alain Kaloyeros in 2016 (photo: The Governor's Office)


    A coalition of budget and transparency watchdog groups are calling on the Legislature to pass, and for Governor Cuomo to sign, comprehensive “clean contracting” legislation in response to the bid-rigging scandal that rocked the state Capitol last year and continues to reverberate.

    Specifically, at a Wednesday press conference the groups called for restoration of reviewing powers to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for all state contracts exceeding $250,000, an end to non-academic

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  • De Blasio Increases Spending and Savings in $84.86 Billion Executive Budget

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    The Mayor presents the budget (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    Nearly $200 million more in spending and $587 million in savings were added to the budget for the 2018 fiscal year in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest iteration of the city’s spending plan released on Wednesday.

    The mayor presented an $84.86 billion executive budget, which increased proposed spending from the $84.67 billion proposed in the preliminary budget in January. The new spending is targeted at early childhood education, job creation, veterans services, anti-eviction

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  • Several Points of Funding Contention for City Budget Negotiation

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    Mayor de Blasio presents his budget (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The city’s annual budget season kicked off on January 25 with the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.7 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1. Starting Thursday, the City Council will hold weeks of hearings to examine the financial plan,

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  • De Blasio Faces Local Questions About ‘Mansion Tax’ Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayor's Office)


    A report released by the city Independent Budget Office has raised questions about the potential effects of the so-called “mansion tax,” a proposed part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing strategy that would levy a 2.5 percent surcharge on the sale price over a threshold of $2 million for residential properties.

    De Blasio put forward a version of the mansion tax proposal, which requires approval by the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo, in mid-2015. It failed

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  • Renewed Push for 'Performance Budgeting' Through Mayor's Management Report

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    Council Member Ben Kallos (Photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    A critical study by a fiscal watchdog on the city’s annual performance report has led to renewed calls for city agencies to base their budgets on the efficiency of services.

    The Citizens Budget Commission, an independent nonprofit, released an analysis earlier this month of the Mayor’s Management Report (MMR),

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  • Massive Bank Settlements Fueled Spending Spree by Electeds

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: The Governor's Office on flickr)


    In the wake of the financial collapse and the Great Recession, New York City and State officials began to rake in enormous sums of money from settlements with major banking institutions.

    Because New York is the major financial industry hub of the world, local officials have jurisdiction over these institutions, and thus related fines, forfeitures, and restitutions. In deals made outside of the budgetary process, New York officials like the Attorney General, and Manhattan District

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  • Savings Debate Intensifies Ahead of City Budget Modification

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    Mayor de Blasio in a budget presentation (photo: NYC Mayor's Office)


    Reading the tea leaves and heeding calls to be more prepared for an inevitable recession, the de Blasio administration has formed a new unit in its budget office tasked with coordinating additional agency savings, a move expected to be more formally announced in conjunction with the coming November budget modification.

    City tax revenue growth has slowed, but a recession is not yet here, and may not be imminent. Though alarm bells have been ringing of late, city tax revenue

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  • Independent Budgeting a Little-Used Practice for City Watchdog Agencies

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    Mayor de Blasio makes a budget presentation (photo via Mayor's Office)


    During the annual budget process, city agencies and entities are at the mercy of the Mayor and the City Council, who ultimately set the budget. But unlike many, the several agencies and officials who regularly monitor, regulate, or litigate against the mayoral administration are put in an awkward situation, annually appealing for funding in a dynamic that can hamper their ability to carry out charter-mandated duties and, in some cases, lead

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  • Several Council Asks Remain as City Budget Negotiations Hit Home Stretch

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    The Mayor and Council discuss the budget (all photos: William Alatriste)


    City budget season entered its home stretch last week when the City Council conducted its final hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82.2 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2017. With a deal between the Council and the mayor due by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, the parties will largely negotiate behind closed doors, with funding levels for a number of major priorities on the table. There are also lingering questions about savings and how much

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  • What To Watch For In The Mayor's Executive Budget

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio will release his Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017 on Tuesday and the nonpartisan, nonprofit Citizens Budget Commission has posed eight questions that people should be asking, including what to expect in terms of new revenue streams, new spending, the city’s fiscal reserves and agency savings, the impact of the state budget, and the city’s investment in

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  • The City Council's Complicated Budget Math

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    Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and colleagues (photo: William Alatriste)


    Last week, the City Council’s finance committee voted to increase the Council’s operating budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1, by $3.1 million, bringing it to a total of $64 million, a five percent increase over last year’s ...

  • Several Significant Questions About The Governor's Budget

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    Gov. Cuomo at his State of the State (via The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2016-2017 budget proposal has legislators and budget experts scratching their heads as to how major capital projects will be paid for, how the state plans to make good on a promise to fund the MTA, and how certain measures might affect funding for New York City. Many are wondering if the governor will keep his pledge that his plan to shift millions in costs for CUNY and Medicaid "won't cost New York City a penny."

    These questions linger almost two months

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  • Reducing Organic Waste Without Increasing Costs

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    photo via NYC Sanitation


    Today, the New York City Council will hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Sanitation's organic waste program started in 2013. The focus on organic waste is merited by the size of the waste stream (more than 1 million tons annually) and environmental benefits of reducing greenhouse gases through use of alternative disposal strategies, such as composting, rather than transport to distant landfills. The City plans to expand the pilot program citywide; however, ...

  • De Blasio Releases Cautious $82 Billion Preliminary Budget

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    De Blasio presents his budget (Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office) 


    New York City's fiscal year begins July 1. As the city moves toward a fiscal year 2017 budget agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council by June 30, the mayor began the process on Thursday when he unveiled his preliminary budget, which comes in at $82.1 billion.

    De Blasio didn't outline any major new initiatives, instead focusing on fiscal discipline, building reserves, and making "targeted investments," including in

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  • Once Rife with Problems, City Budget Process Now a Model for State System in Need of Reform

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    Governor Cuomo presents his 2014-2015 Executive Budget


    In 1975 New York City was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, having balanced its budget for years with massive borrowing and shady accounting tricks. Banks were at the point where they would lend no more. Mayor Abe Beame had written the announcement of the city's default. City lawyers were in State Supreme Court filing a petition for bankruptcy and police were prepared to serve

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  • Cuomo Heads Into State of the State After Big Announcements, With More to Say

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Governor Cuomo is going big. Decrying a state that has lost its ambition for transformative projects like the Erie Canal, the governor has spent the past week traveling the state and announcing major infrastructure, transportation, and economic development plans. Cuomo has also revealed new pieces of his $15 minimum wage campaign and criminal justice reform policies, among others, as he sets his agenda for 2016 and frames budget negotiations in Albany.

    So far, Cuomo has outlined 14

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 7-11

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    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday 

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio signs legislation creating the city's new Department of Veterans' Services, via Joe Bello, @NYMetroVets

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 9

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    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Wednesday is Veterans Day, with parades, resource fairs, and events to honor and aid veterans taking place before, on, and after the day itself. Mayor Bill de Blasio will hold a breakfast reception to honor the military veterans Wednesday morning. On Thursday, the City Council will hold a hearing on veteran homelessness, which the mayor vowed to end by the end of this year as part of a national pledge.

    The

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  • With Risks, P3s and Design-Build Seen as Beneficial to Infrastructure Planning

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    A new MTA MetroNorth facility (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    At an Urban Land Institute conference last week, two panels of transportation experts – one from the public sector, the other from the private sector – discussed the issues plaguing tri-state transportation systems and the potential of public-private partnerships to address them.

    “Transportation agencies are great at delivering state-of-good-repair projects, delivering normal replacement

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  • As Healthcare Landscape Changes, City Hospital Authority Charts New Path

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    HHC's Dr. Raju (photo: @RamRajuMD) 


    New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation was thrust into the spotlight a year ago when, last October, its Bellevue Hospital treated Craig Spencer, the doctor who

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  • Breaking Down the City Budget

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    Mayor & Speaker at budget announcement (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Wednesday, July 1, marked the beginning of the new fiscal year under a $78.6 billion budget agreed upon by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council.

    When he unveiled his preliminary budget outline in February, de Blasio ...

  • Mayor & Council Announce $78.5B Fiscal 2016 Budget Deal

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    Mayor & Speaker announce budget (photo: William Alatriste)


    A little after 10 p.m. Monday night and more than a week before deadline, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that they had reached a deal on a balanced fiscal year 2016 city budget. The $78.5 billion budget is for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and includes additional spending from the mayor's Executive Budget, released in May, for several Council priorities - including the hiring of 1,297 new NYPD officers.

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  • City Includes $1 Billion for Overtime in 2016 Budget

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    Mayor de Blasio presenting his preliminary budget (photo: @NYCMayorsOffice)


    Some of the most prominent city agencies will again spend considerable portions of their budgets on employee overtime in fiscal year 2016, set to begin July 1, 2015. The allocation of $1 billion toward personnel overtime raises questions around optimal staffing levels and balancing cold fiscal calculation with whether understaffing might impact performance and well-being of employees.

    City officials argue that staffing levels are mostly

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