Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio Inherits $2.4B Surplus, with Challenges Ahead

NY Daily News - December 20, 2013

by Celeste Katz

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio may be inheriting a city in better financial shape than he had expected.

New York will end the current fiscal year with a surplus of $2.4 billion — “$581 million more than projected by the Bloomberg administration,” according to a new fiscal forecast from the city Independent Budget Office released Thursday.

The budget office also projects a surplus of $1.9 billion for fiscal year 2015.

The extra money should ease the financial pressures faced by de Blasio, including a demand by the city’s unions — which have been working without contracts for as long as four years — for $7 billion in retroactive pay.

But the budget watchdog warns that even with the windfalls, heavy challenges face de Blasio as he prepares to take the helm Jan. 1. The report comes a day after Mayor Bloomberg warned his successor to hold the line on worker health care and pension costs.

A de Blasio rep did not respond to request for comment on the fiscal report, while a Bloomberg spokesman said: “The potential for an actual surplus is a testament to our sound financial management and commitment to diversifying the city’s economy.”

Maria Doulis of the Citizens Budget Commission said the surplus gives de Blasio “a cushion for the first year, but it doesn’t solve the long-term challenges on the spending side.”