The New York City Council Votes to Adopt the FY 2019 Budget

The $89 billion agreement reaffirms the Council’s commitment to maintaining and bolstering the City’s central services helping the most vulnerable New Yorkers 

City Hall, NY – Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson and members of the New York City Council today voted to adopt the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. This budget reflects the months of hard work and collaboration between the Council and the Administration in ensuring that the city protects and strengthens core services while maintaining fiscal prudence in the event of a financial downturn.  Earlier this week, the Speaker, Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an agreement on the Fiscal Year 2019 budget that includes many of the priorities the Council pushed for to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, including the Fair Fares discount MetroCards program, increased budget reserves, and prioritizing permanent housing in response to the city’s affordability crisis.

Those priorities – as well as increased resources for libraries, after school programs, trash pick-up, and summer youth employment – are the result of the Council fighting for creative solutions to protect the City’s most vulnerable and the Council’s commitment to providing much-needed resources to as many New Yorkers as possible. The Council is mindful that although this budget is being adopted in a time of prosperity, the City’s financial prospects could change. Therefore, the Council pushed for and succeeded in attaining fiscally prudent budgeting practices to protect the City’s future.

This year with the formation of the new Capital Budget subcommittee, the Council scored significant wins in the city’s Capital Budget. That includes $150 million to make schools more accessible for disabled children and $60 million for libraries capital funding. In addition to these funding priorities, the Council made incredible strides towards Capital Budget reform for a more transparent and accountable capital plan with $5.8 billion in excess appropriation rescinded, the redistribution of $6.4 billion in planned commitments for the first two years of the Capital Commitment Plan to the outyears, and additional more descriptive budget lines.

“This budget will strengthen our social safety net and do more for New Yorkers who are struggling to get by on less,” said Speaker Johnson. “We’re taking common sense steps to make sure that the city’s future is secured. We fought to have a spending plan that will benefit everyone in the city. We have set aside $225 million in reserves this year, giving us a total reserve of $9.9 billion – more than 10 percent of our budget. This is a huge step toward ensuring that the social services we now offer are not cut during an economic downturn. This budget also takes the first steps towards property tax reform with our new commission that will work to give homeowners some badly needed relief; allowed us to secure $125 million in additional Fair Student Funding; and provides for more frequent trash pickup. We’ve also increased funding to libraries to $16.7 million and we are expanding our summer youth employment program to 75,000 slots. I want to thank the Chair of the Finance Committee Danny Dromm and the Chair of the subcommittee on the Capital Budget Vanessa Gibson and everyone on the City Council who made this happen.”

“New Yorkers spoke, and we listened. Working closely together, the Council and the administration have devised a progressive budget that truly delivers for our city. There is much to celebrate in this budget.  Among the many major wins are $106 million for Fair Fares that will provide those living at or below the federal poverty line with half-priced MetroCards; $150 million to make New York City public schools more accessible to people living with disabilities; and $125 million in Fair Student Funding which will allow principals to determine what area in their school needs additional support.  The Council and the Administration have also succeeded in bolstering NYC’s reserves by $225 million.  This strengthens the City’s ability to weather any downturn that may arise in the future without having to make painful cuts or increase taxes.  I want to take this opportunity to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, Capital Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson, Finance Division Director Latonia McKinney and the other dedicated members of the Finance division for their efforts.  Together we have produced a budget that will move our city forward, and for that I am grateful,” said Committee on Finance Chair Daniel Dromm.

“The comprehensive and forward thinking budget passed today by the City Council enhances significant investments in essential youth, public safety, cultural, senior, hunger, homelessness, and educational services across all five boroughs. This was my first year chairing the Council’s newly created Subcommittee on Capital Budget. In just six months, we have radically improved capital budget transparency and significantly reduced the Administration’s long practice of allocating money to agencies that couldn’t realistically be spent in a fiscal year. The result is a more honest budget that represents the construction and infrastructure work the City will realistically complete in the next year, streamlining taxpayer dollars and clearing the way for better, more focused oversight of capital projects in the months and years to come. In addition to our capital budget victories, I am truly overjoyed that, under the strong leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, the FY19 budget will finally include the much needed fair fares program, which reduces the cost of transit for very low income New Yorkers and alleviates the burden of transit costs for those working to achieve economic stability. This budget also expands vital city services, and I am particularly thankful that we are funding Fair Student Funding, School Accessibility and affordable senior housing, increasing funding to alternative to incarceration programs, creating more supportive housing, and adding more beds for runaway and homeless youth.  As this year’s budget process draws to a close, I remain thankful for the leadership and partnership of our Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Chair Danny Dromm, City Council Finance Director Latonia McKinney, and the entire City Council Finance Team. Together, we have made incredible progress to invest in resources and programs that serve to enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Subcommittee on Capital Budget Chair Vanessa Gibson. 

“We started the fight for Fair Fares two years ago and today we can celebrate a significant victory. I am proud to stand by the Community Services Society and Riders Alliance as a longtime ally in celebrating this win for New Yorkers for whom the choice between a MTA fare and a necessity just got a little easier. I congratulate my colleagues in the Council who under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson never lost sight of the importance of making equity in public transportation a priority in this budget,” said Committee on Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez.

The FY2019 adopted budget will include:

COUNCIL PRIORITIES: 

  • Fair Fares: One of the most significant achievements in this budget is the funding of Fair Fares. This program will make nearly 800,000 New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty level eligible for half-price MetroCards, thereby saving them more than $700 per year in transportation costs. In addition, 12,000 veterans enrolled in New York City Colleges will also be eligible for the discount MetroCards. In this city, mobility is opportunity. The $106 million included for Fiscal 2019 and the commitment by the Administration to continue to fully fund the program in the out years will literally open turnstiles and doors to the neediest residents.
  • Increased Reserves: The Adopted Budget will add $225 million to the City’s reserves. According to recent Finance Division analysis, there is a one-in-five chance that the current level of reserves is not enough to make it through the Financial Plan period without having to make budget cuts or raise taxes. This infusion will help the City avoid painful spending cuts or tax increases during downturns allowing New York City to instead draw on its fiscal cushions.
  • A Road to Property Tax Reform: The Mayor and the Council jointly announced the creation of a Property Tax Reform Commission. To develop recommendations to reform New York City’s property tax system to make it simpler, clearer, and fairer, while ensuring that there is no reduction in revenue used to fund essential City services. The commission will solicit input from the public by holding at least ten public hearings. The last in-depth review of the system by a government-appointed commission was in 1993.
  • Direct Education Dollars To Schools: The Mayor and Council have agreed to baseline $125 million for Fair Student Funding. This boosts core funding for schools across the city and puts spending authority for educational initiatives back in the schools where it belongs. 
  • School Accessibility: No student should be prevented from attending their preferred school because they cannot get up the stairs and no parent should have to miss a school play or a parent-teacher conference because there is no access to the auditorium or the second floor. New York City is better than that, and that is why $150 million will be added to the Adopted Budget for capital projects to increase accessibility in the City’s school buildings.

 

PLANTING SEEDS FOR TOMORROW BY HELPING OUR YOUTH:

  • COMPASS: $14.2 Million to continue supporting elementary after school programs citywide.
  • Summer SONYC: $15 Million to restore 22,800 summer programs for students grades 6-8 citywide.
  • Summer Youth Employment Program: $10.3 Million to increase the number of available jobs to 75,000 as well as to raise the minimum wage for those in the program.
  • Work, Learn, Grow Jobs Program: $19 Million restored in Fiscal Year 19 to provide in-school career readiness training and paid employment opportunities to teens and young adults.

“Our city’s young people are among the biggest winners in this budget,” said Council Member Debi Rose, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services. “The Summer Youth Employment Program has a decades-long record of connecting young people with their communities, teaching them financial literacy and preparing them for successful careers. The expansion of SYEP — as well as the Work, Learn, Grow program that offers year-round youth employment — is a meaningful investment in young people and in the future well-being of our city. I thank the Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and all of my colleagues for working together to produce a budget that reflects our values.”

 

ESSENTIAL SERVICES FOR NEW YORKERS:

  • Adult Literacy Program: $12 Million to fund Adult English literacy programs citywide.
  • Maintain Services for Parks: $12.3 Million to increase the number of Park Maintenance Workers, extend the open period of City pools and beaches, finance tree stump removal.
  • Funding for Libraries: $60 Million for new libraries in capital funds, and $16.7 million in expense funding.
  • Picking Up More Trash: $3.5 for extra sanitation services.

 

STRENGTHENING THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET: 

  • NYCHA:  $40 Million for increased infrastructure funding.
  • Supportive Housing: Increase the amount of supportive housing units created annually from 500 to 700.
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelters: $3 Million to create 60 new shelter beds for 21 to 24 years olds in need.
  • Emergency Food Assistance Program: $8.7 Million to provide funding for soup kitchens and food pantries citywide.
  • Senior Affordable Housing – $500 Million for senior affordable housing targeted at 4 Housing Preservation and Development sites and 2 NYCHA sites.

 

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