Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg announced that the city has a $3.9 billion dollar surplus for the year. Thanks to skyrocketing real estate prices that have defied the experts predictions as of yet, NYC is flush with cash. This number is double what the predictions were just two months ago. As the exorbitant prices help the city's piggy bank, how will the Mayor help our citizens who are being driven away by high prices?
From the NY Times:
Since 2005, tax revenues have been cascading in at surprisingly high levels, a phenomenon reflected in the quarterly financial plan updates the mayor is required to present. In addition to the projected surplus of $3.9 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, the plan forecasts a $1.4 billion surplus next year; both sums will be rolled over into the following years.
In a City Hall news conference, the mayor attributed the exceptionally large surpluses to a boom in property transfer taxes, including mortgage recording taxes, which can generate millions of dollars when large properties change hands. All told, the city expects to collect $2.9 billion in such taxes this year, compared with $902 million in the fiscal year Mr. Bloomberg took office.
As properties are bought and sold, residents are on the move...out of the city to make way for those that can afford the ever-increasing cost of living in the five burroughs. Again, the question is what will the Mayor do for those that are less fortunate? Well we already know Bloomberg is cutting property taxes by $750 million and other taxes by $250 million. He also mentioned how to achieve happiness:
“The ways to be happy long term, however, is to not go out and spend everything you have on one night of food and a few drinks.”
Instead of a night on the town, why not focus on those that can't afford Smith & Wollensky or Tao and give more to homeless shelters and other tools to help the poor. According to the Coalition of the Homeless, family homelessness is rising rapidly at an eleven percent clip. Not only must we provide more shelters, increases for job training and family assistance would be nice as well.
Reading the NY Times article, you can see that plenty of people have grievances on how the Mayor should spend, or not spend the surplus. Conservatives want to rein in pension contracts with unions, business organizations want to make the property tax cut permanent and to pay down other debts.
To the Mayor's credit, he is introducing a plan to rebuild schools in the long-term to the tune of $28.4 billion in the 10 year capital plan. It is a start and there is so much more that is need to be done.