City Comptroller Delivers FY 2021 Preliminary Budget Presentation

Dear Friend –

The City’s budget is a statement about our values and priorities, it’s our opportunity each year to reevaluate how well we are serving New Yorkers and whether we are delivering real results. 

On Tuesday, I presented a comprehensive analysis of New York City’s FY 2021 Preliminary Budget, which reviewed key city programs and services and detailed how the City can better prepare for the future and ensure taxpayer investments work as designed.

While New York City has gained more than 907,000 jobs since 2009, and the unemployment rate is at a record low of 4.1 percent, economic growth has been slowing and there are many uncertainties for the coming year.

That’s why I’m calling on the City to more aggressively manage the budget for the long-term and identify more opportunities for savings to prepare for a potential future economic downturn.

The current savings plan is simply not enough, and we need to build up the City’s reserve cushion in order to protect our most vulnerable communities. My office recommends that the budget cushion equal at least 12 percent of spending, a number we haven’t hit once in five years.

To help achieve more savings, two years ago we introduced the agency watch list, which spotlights city agencies that aren’t delivering measurable results for their spending. This year, we continue to include the Department of Correction and citywide homelessness services, which have previously appeared on the watch list, and added ThriveNYC. New Yorkers deserve far more transparency and far more measurable results—and if we can’t produce the data then we can’t live up to our promises to New Yorkers.

The economic growth we’ve relied on in recent years is slowing down, especially when we look ahead to 2021. The Mayor’s agency savings are a start, but we need to do more to reach a balanced, sustainable budget and ensure that city agencies are accountable for the public money they spend.

If we fail to take prudent steps to shore up our economic reserves now, when an economic winter comes, our most vulnerable New Yorkers will pay the price. We cannot allow that to happen. As the budget process moves forward, I’m excited to roll up my sleeves, shine a light on solutions to our toughest challenges, and an equitable budget for all New Yorkers.

Best,
Scott