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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 250-08
June 26, 2008

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER QUINN REACH AGREEMENT ON $59 BILLION FISCAL YEAR 2009 CITY BUDGET THAT INCREASES FUNDING FOR CITY SCHOOLS AND NYCHA

Budget Retains Seven Percent Property Tax Rate Cut and Continues Property Tax Rebate Program for Homeowners

City Spending Stays Virtually Flat Reflecting Tough Fiscal Times

Additional $129 Million for Department of Education Eliminates Planned Reductions to School Budgets

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today announced an agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 New York City Budget.  The $59 billion budget maintains the property tax rate cut rate of seven percent for a second year, and continues the $400 property tax rebate program for homeowners for the fifth year.  The budget also increases City funding to the Department of Education by $129 million and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) by $18 million over the levels proposed in the Mayor's Executive Budget.  This will ensure that schools will receive the planned level of funding prior to the reductions in the rate of spending announced earlier this year, and it will help NYCHA maintain its operations of community and senior centers. 

"The news about the economy, and its effects on the City's finances, continues to be very sobering, and this budget reflects the uncertain economic outlook we face," said Mayor Bloomberg. "In partnership with Speaker Quinn and the City Council, we have agreed to restore funding to the Department of Education and NYCHA, and to maintain the $400 property tax rebate and the seven percent reduction in the property tax rate for one more year.  I want to thank Speaker Quinn and the Council Members for working with us to create a budget that is fiscally responsible and balanced.  And in the weeks and months ahead, we will take whatever steps are necessary to keep our budget in balance and keep our City moving forward."

"In this year's budget, we have made some difficult though smart decisions that will help the City through the financial uncertainty ahead, while maintaining essential city services," said Speaker Quinn. "In particular, our children's education remained a priority. Last month I promised to protect classrooms from being cut and I'm proud that, together with Mayor Bloomberg and my colleagues in the Council, we were able to deliver on that promise. In addition, we secured $18 million in NYCHA funding and prevented taxes from increasing. I thank the Mayor and all Council Members for their tireless and dedicated efforts to make this budget a budget that is both responsible and delivers for New Yorkers."

Reflecting the tough fiscal times the City is already in and the difficult outlook for the future, City-funded spending under this budget agreement is virtually flat for FY 2009 compared to FY 2008.  The budget's spending increase of 1.6 percent in City-funds is well below the projected 2.7 percent annual rate of inflation. 

This budget includes an increase of $129 million for the City's public schools over the amount proposed in last month's Executive Budget.  These new education funds will be used to ensure that individual schools receive the full funding proposed before the FY 2009 reductions in spending announced in January.  This money will also be used to focus on middle school reform and an initiative supporting English Language Learners, which are two priorities that are shared by Speaker Quinn and the Mayor. 

The NYCHA funding will help preserve community center and senior center programs.

The budget maintains the early payment of $2 billion of debt expenses in FY 2010 and $350 million to pay expenses in FY 2011 - as announced in the Mayor's Executive Budget in May - to reduce the forecasted budget gaps in those years.







MEDIA CONTACT:


Stu Loeser (Mayor's Office)   (212) 788-2958

Jamie McShane (City Council)   (212) 788-7116




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