NYC Budget Deal Has Millions for Youth Jobs, Free School Lunches

  • $85 billion proposal is one of the earliest and most costly
  • Record 65,000 summer youth jobs to be funded in spending plan

New York city Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito -- both Democrats -- shook hands on an $85 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year that includes about $30 million to create thousands of permanent and summer jobs for city youth. 

“This budget is aimed at addressing the economic realities of everyday New Yorkers,” de Blasio said during a City Hall briefing Friday night. “Life in this city is too hard for too many, but with this budget it is our goal to alleviate some of those pressures.”

The budget also reflects spending that has increased about 13 percent since de Blasio assumed office in 2014. City payroll has swelled to more than 328,000 full- and part-time employees, up from under 300,000 when de Blasio entered City Hall, according to a study by the Citizens Budget Commission, a non-profit business funded fiscal monitor.

The mayor, who is running for re-election this year, inked a budget deal with the leader of the City Council at the earliest date since 1992, the mayor said. The spending plan would go into effect at the July 1 start of the 2018 fiscal year, pending approval by a formal City Council vote. State law requires it be balanced. It exceeds that mandate, holding more than $5.5 billion in reserves set aside for emergencies and unanticipated expenses, such as a rise in debt-service costs. 

The fiscal 2018 budget calls for the city to fund about $13 billion of new capital spending, drawing from the sale of general-obligation, Transitional Finance Authority and Water Finance Authority debt. 

Youth Employment

Next year’s summer youth employment program spends more than $80 million, a 12 percent increase, to create at least 65,000 seasonal jobs. That’s up from 60,000 this past year. A $20 million boost to de Blasio’s Work, Learn and Grow career training program will provide 6,500 participants with year-round jobs, according to a budget summary sent by the administration and the council.

New spending on schools includes $107 million in capital and operating funds to provide all schools with gyms or other physical education facilities and more than $10 million to offer more students free lunches.

Another $23 million will be spent to provide weekend meals to seniors through neighborhood centers and home deliveries, and $7.2 million for Emergency Food Assistance pantries, a 15 percent increase over last year “to address the projected demand.”

A property tax break to any veteran who served during a war, averaging about $443 a year, will cost the budget about $25 million, the mayor’s office said.

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