Under Bill de Blasio, the first Democratic mayor of New York City in more than two decades, the city has added more than 25,000 employees and spending has increased by nearly 20%.
Since he took office in 2014, Mr. de Blasio has made preschool free for all children, an initiative that costs the city about $300 million a year. He has added nearly 1,300 police officers at an annual cost of $75 million. He spent more than $300 million to launch citywide ferry service and $4 million to create a new agency to work with veterans.
“Our economy is strong and we can afford to help New Yorkers who need it most,” the mayor told The Wall Street Journal in a recent emailed statement. “Making those investments is not only moral, but it will help keep our economy strong and our city the greatest in the world.”
City spending has risen by nearly 20%, to roughly $61.3 billion this year from about $51.2 billion in fiscal year 2014, the last budget negotiated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent. The rise is roughly four times the rate of inflation for the same period.
The city’s overall budget has risen from $72.7 billion in November 2013, Mr. Bloomberg’s final months in office, to nearly $86 billion last month. Mr. Fuleihan noted that the city has increased its general-reserve fund to $1.2 billion from roughly $300 million when Mr. de Blasio took office.
City spending on the Department of Education, which oversees the largest school district in the country and makes up nearly 20% of the total city budget, rose to $11.6 billion this year from $9.3 billion four years ago. Read more.