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The Cost of Their Intentions: An Analysis of the Mayoral Candidates' Spending Proposals

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The Cost of Their Intentions: An Analysis of the Mayoral Candidates' Spending Proposals

October 1, 2001
EconomicsBudget

In the weeks leading up to the original September 11th primary date, the mayoral candidates would occasionally acknowledge that their plans might have to change if New York City encountered a full-blown recession.

Sadly, there’s no longer any “if” about it. The horrific attack on the World Trade Center will deal a severe blow to New York’s economy and government revenues for at least the next year, if not longer. Before September 11th, the city's projected fiscal 2003 budget gap of $2.8 billion looked like a worst-case scenario. Now, it's a grim reality.

The men who would be mayor have a lot of catching up to do. Prior to the attack, five of the six leading candidates were proposing ambitious new capital programs leveraged by more than $100 million in projected revenues from the World Trade Center. Those ideas are obviously moot, but the programs they would have financed represented only a portion of the new spending that mayoral candidates will now have to reconsider.

Even before the catastrophe, it was clear that the next mayor would have to deal with an economic slowdown and potentially huge budget gaps. While the mayoral hopefuls all say they have re-ordered their priorities in the wake of the attack,* their original campaign proposals can still provide useful insights into each candidate’s philosophy and policy preferences.

We estimated the costs implied by each candidate’s** campaign proposals as they stood on the eve of the original September 11th primary date. Here is how they stacked up

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