This week the City Council held their final hearing on the FY19 executive budget that was released by the Mayor in April 2018. During this hearing, the Council heard testimony from Office of Management and Budget Director Melanie Hertzog, which focused primarily on new funding included in the executive budget to bolster support for the City’s municipal workforce, expand programming for NYC students, and address reductions in NYS funding for City services.

In response to Hartzog’s testimony, the Council expressed concerns about the size of the City’s budget for homeless services and pressed for the Administration to adopt policies to require stronger cross-agency collaboration to find savings where possible and improve outcomes for these high-need New Yorkers. Furthermore, the Council highlighted their disappointment in the lack of funding included in the executive budget for Council priorities, with a particular focus on the Mayor’s lack of support for the Fair Fares proposal which would provide subsidized Metrocards to low income New Yorkers.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson continued his advocacy this week on the subsidized Metrocard proposal known as “Fair Fares.” Speaker Johnson published an op-ed in the New York Times outlining the need and benefits associated with providing low-income New Yorkers some financial relief from transportation costs through this initiative. He also called on Mayor de Blasio to fund the program in the city’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Mayor de Blasio has publicly stated that he does not think the city should pay for the program, and ultimately it is the responsibility of the state through the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

It is our understanding that the Members of the Council have been meeting with increasing regularity to discuss the programs and priorities that the Council will support with discretionary funding in FY19. Over the upcoming weeks, we anticipate the Council’s internal deliberations will continue to intensify and that the Council will begin meeting with the Administration to negotiate the Council priorities that the Mayor may ultimately agree to support in the adopted budget for FY19, which will begin on July 1, 2018.