Shakespeare’s immortal lines and City budget jargon rarely have much in common, but Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reluctance to include a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) in his financial plans calls to mind Juliet’s reflections on what it means to be a Montague. The Mayor voices heartfelt interest in finding ways to save money, but he does not want to call it a PEG or put such name in his plan, at least in part because of its identification with prior administrations.
Since 2011 New York leaders have restrained growth in the state’s operating budget; in contrast, the scale and scope of questionable economic development programs continue to be expanded significantly. In 2014 state and local spending for these activities totaled $8 billion, largely capital grants and business tax breaks outside the operating budget. Despite scant evidence such spending boosts economic activity, the fiscal year 2016 state budget adds $2 billion to economic development programs.
According to current forecasts from its outside monitors, New York City government will generate significant surplus revenue for the next four years, meaning the city will exceed the longest economic expansion in modern history in terms of tax revenue growth and match it in length.
The fiscal year 2016 state budget enacted last week includes a 6.0 percent increase in annual formula-based aid to school districts from $21.8 billion to $23.1 billion. This is the third consecutive year in which the Governor and the legislature have busted the statutory growth cap they agreed upon in 2011.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs about $32 billion over the next five years to repair, replace and improve its facilities, notably the vast and essential mass transit system. It only has about $13 billion.
This report examines the MTA’s current fiscal challenges and identifies options for funding its capital investment needs for the next five years. The analysis of these options includes consideration of how well measures to raise money for the MTA fit into a broader financing plan for the state’s entire transportation system, including its extensive road and bridge network.
New York State's economic development programs have long been the subject of debate because it is difficult to measure the benefits they produce. Are the State's considerable investments worthwhile? Although their political value is clear, their economic value is not.
On Sunday March 22 fares for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) subways and buses will go up. Like three previous biennial fare increases since 2009, this hike is needed to raise revenue for transit operations. However, more money could be gained or the increase could be less painful for riders if the MTA pursues another, arguably fairer, revenue-raising strategy.