NEW YORK — The streets of Midtown do not look like what they used to, and that’s making a big impact on city coffers.
“We have seen our revenue trail off yet again,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
The city is facing a $5.25 billion budget deficit, a big jump just in the last few months, and revenues are still sliding.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, tax revenue has plummeted by $10.5 billion — a large portion of that from a decrease in revenue from property taxes, something the city hasn’t seen since the 1990s.
It’s not a pretty picture.
“We have seen real problems in a lot of areas of our economy, hotels, obviously, a lot of office buildings, values have changed," the mayor said.
Despite that fact, the mayor’s nearly $92.3 billion preliminary budget proposal does not include layoffs or an increase in property taxes — at least for now. Thousands of city employees will be lost through attrition.
The mayor has cut about $1.3 billion in programs to close the yawning deficit. He says he will work with labor unions to get more savings.
Details were slim on both of those commitments on Thursday evening.
Despite the dire scenario, it could be much worse.
Ahead of the mayor’s budget address, Senator Charles Schumer announced he secured a better deal for the city from the incoming Biden administration. FEMA would now increase its reimbursement for the city’s COVID-19 expenses. That means the city would get another $1 billion from Washington.
”This is a prelude of how things are going to be better for New York with Joe Biden as president and me as majority leader," Schumer said. "New York will be in a better position to access the funds it needs because of the COVID-19 crisis."
While there’s that silver lining, the city is still facing a serious fiscal situation. More cuts in funding could come from Albany. And who knows when revenues will reverse their descent.