Add Your Two Cents to Bloomberg’s $68.7 Billion Budget
Every spring, the mayor of New York City releases the final version of his executive budget for the following year. From May through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, public hearings are held in which city agencies testify on the budget’s impact before the various committees of the New York City Council.
To better understand the process and be part of it, there are important dates and resources to know about.
The hearings are open to the public, but only at the final hearing on June 6 are members of the public invited to testify. After that, the City Council submits recommended changes to the mayor, and before the next fiscal year begins on July 1, City Council amends and must adopt a final version of the budget.
All hearings are held in the committee room on the 16th floor at 250 Broadway. On the day of a hearing, arrive a few minutes earlier to to put your name on the list of people who would like to testify.
The full budget hearing schedule is available below, along with some of the major hot-button issues that will inevitably draw protests.
Background materials on the budget
To download PDFs related to the executive budget, see the Office of Management and Budget website.
If you’re not versed in reading budget lines, another office can provide some narrative explanation and even basic vocabulary explanations. The Independent Budget Office is a nonpartisan publicly funded agency that produces an analysis of the preliminary budget and guides to understanding the city budget in general.
Some of the budget controversies for 2013
- FDNY station closures — The budget calls for the closure of 20 fire stations. The topic is particularly heated, since Bloomberg proposed the same number of closures last year, which City Council restored at the last minute.
- Childcare — One of the most controversial items in the budget calls for $170 million to be cut from the Department of Youth and Community Development and Administration for Children’s Services. According to the city, that means services for 47,000 mostly low-income children (6,000 childcare slots, 3,100 of which are for after-school care) would be cut next year.
- Libraries — According to the Independent Budget Office‘s analysis, the $207 million proposed for New York City’s three library systems (Queens, Brooklyn, and New York — which includes the Bronx and Staten Island) is the lowest funding level in a decade. Each system may have to close over a dozen branches, and service hours would be reduced system-wide.
- Homeless youth services — Currently, the city provides free beds to 250 homeless youth, the majority of whom are LGBT teens fleeing hostile home environments, according to Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center. Bloomberg’s budget would cut 160 of those beds from the system.
- Housing for people with HIV/AIDS — Activists have decried the budget for failing to restore $10 million worth of previous cuts to housing services for people living with HIV/AIDS. The budget, VOCAL-NY said, will prevent the HIV/AIDS Services Administration from keeping its promise to develop 1,000 new units of housing for AIDS patients.
- Taxi medallions — The city plans to earn $1 billion from new taxi medallions next year. The problem is that there are currently two lawsuits filed against the city over the new medallions, which could put a serious gap in the budget.
The City Council’s schedule on executive budget hearings: