After watching Mayor de Blasio’s gloomy budget presentation last Thursday, New Yorkers could be forgiven for thinking that the local economy is entering a slump and tax revenues are falling.
Actually, it’s worse than that. The economy — for the moment, at least — is doing just fine. And despite the popular notion, tax revenues are hundreds of millions of dollars higher than the city projected three months ago. The real problem: Even in a seemingly relentless boom, taxpayers can’t keep up with Hizzoner’s spending.
The mayor is preparing the city for a downturn, in words if not in deeds. Thursday afternoon, he warned darkly of “new realities and tough choices.” Standing before a slide pasted with news headlines heralding a possible downturn, he said, “We are seeing the impact of that reality on our revenue already.”
One problem: It isn’t true. New York expects to take in $62.9 billion in tax revenue for 2020, the fiscal year that starts in July. That’s a healthy 3.6 percent increase — well above inflation — from the fiscal year that will end in June.
Compared to two years ago? In 2018, the city took in $58.4 billion in taxes — meaning two-year growth of 7.8 percent, again well above inflation.
Photo by Pool / Getty