De Blasio pitches largest NYC budget in history amid COVID bounceback

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s final budget proposal is the biggest ever in city history, a $98.6 billion spending plan — bankrolled by a massive infusion of federal aid — that will finance $2.2 billion in new education expenditures alone, documents show.

The document, released Tuesday, clearly illustrates just how dramatically the Biden administration’s recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package has reshaped the Big Apple’s short-term fiscal picture in just three months — with projected spending set to grow by $10.4 billion in just one year and partially filling expected budget gaps in the coming years.

It also provides the first comprehensive accounting of the costs associated with many of de Blasio’s recently announced spending initiatives, many of which are coronavirus-related.

De Blasio’s much-ballyhooed plan to hire 10,000 temporary employees for his City Cleanup Corps — to combat the scourges of litter and graffiti — finally gets a price tag: $234 million.

The budget also includes $100 million in rental assistance and grants for small businesses, another $30 million in loans and $25 million for the city’s coming $30 million campaign to bolster tourism.

Roughly half of the $2.2 billion in new spending on public education is targeted at the pandemic and its fallout:

  • $500 million for extra math and literature instruction for students who struggled after classes went virtual during the pandemic.
  • $200 million to massively expand the city’s summer school programming for another 190,000 students, in another bid to catch kids up.
  • A $155 million boost in technology spending, including on computers and software for students.
  • $130 million to cancel mid-year budget cuts to local schools because of poor attendance at specific campuses during the pandemic.

Nearly a third of the new education spending — $600 million — comes from additional annual funding from Albany for poorer city schools, which was included in this year’s state budget.

De Blasio is also requesting an additional $377 million for his 3K education program to expand it to every district in the city, though availability would still be limited.

If approved, City Hall says it should be able to guarantee a seat for every family by the 2023 school year.

If enacted, the $98.6 billion proposal would amount to a massive 11.8 percent jump in spending in just one year compared to last year’s $88.2 billion agreement between de Blasio and the City Council.

That budget, which was hit hard by the initial coronavirus lockdowns, imposed major and highly unpopular cuts on the city’s parks and trash pickup.

It also called for either cutting or shifting $837 million in spending from the NYPD’s budget, largely through reductions in overtime, a temporary hiring freeze and moving the school safety and crossing guard divisions to other agencies.

Those transfers have yet to take place and independent budget watchdogs report that the NYPD has already exceeded its overtime caps for the year.

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