Is There Another Way to Tally City Budget Surpluses?

September 16th, 2014

The surplus as reported in the city’s budget does not reflect all the uses of funds that could be counted as part of a year’s surplus. These uncounted uses include the transfer of funds to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust and the setting aside of funds needed to pay principal and interest on outstanding bonds in advance of when payments are due, also known as debt defeasance.

  • In 5 of the past 10 years, including fiscal year 2014, the city has had budget surpluses higher than reported.
  • Over the 10-year period, total surpluses, including funds transferred to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust or set aside for debt defeasance, have ranged from as low as $2.5 billion in 2012 to a high of $7.5 billion in 2007.
  • In addition to the reported surplus of $4.7 billion in 2007, an additional $2.8 billion was used for the defeasance of outstanding debt and the transfer of funds to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust.

Prepared by Frank Posillico
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Adopted 2015 Financial Plan
NOTES: Debt defeasance includes General Obligation, Transitional Finance Authority, and Jay Street Development Corporation debt service. The surplus for 2014 is projected.

 

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The City’s 2015-2019 Capital Plan for Public Schools: How Many New Seats & When Will They Be Ready?

August 26th, 2014

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Timeline for Design Start and Estimated

Completion of New Capacity Seats

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  • Under the recently adopted fiscal year 2015-2019 capital plan for schools, 62 percent of the 32,560 new seats will be completed within the five-year plan period, including projects that had been funded for design but not construction under the previous plan. Another 21 percent of the seats are expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Including seats scheduled for completion after 2019-2020, design will begin for 79 percent of the new seats during the five-year plan period. Design for most of the other seats began during the preceding plan.
  • An average of 5,907 seats is expected to be completed each year from 2017-2018 through 2021-2022; over 95 percent of the new seats will be available by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • The period from design to completion is typically expected to take from three to four years.

Prepared by Sarita Subramanian
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data

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When New Yorkers Move Out of New York City Where Do They Go?

July 21st, 2014

Destinations of Households Moving from New York City in 2012
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Click on a state to see number and percent of households moving to that state.

Alaska 0.1% and Hawaii 0.2% of moving households

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  • Twenty-one percent of the households that moved out of New York City in 2012 moved within New York State—either to the city’s suburbs or further upstate. And almost 42 percent of high-income households moving out of New York City moved within the state in 2012.
  • In second place was New Jersey—the destination of just over 13 percent of households moving out of New York City with incomes less than $500,000 and 22 percent of households with incomes over $500,000 in 2012.
  • Florida was the destination of more than 10 percent of the households moving out of New York City in 2012, making it the third most popular destination. Given the state’s popularity among retirees, it is perhaps unsurprising that the share of high-income households relocating to Florida was relatively small—just 2 percent of those who moved in 2012.
  • High-income New Yorkers were no more or less likely to move than other households in 2012. The share of high-income households that moved, 1.8 percent, was just equal to the share of city households with high incomes.
  • The destinations of households moving out of New York City with incomes under $500,000 looked very similar when comparing 2008 and 2012. But the destination of high-income households looked quite different. In 2012, a higher proportion of moving households stayed relatively close to the city—New York, New Jersey and Connecticut—compared with 2008.

Prepared by Julie Anna M. Golebiewski
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: 2008 and 2012 three-year Public Use Microdata Sample data from the U.S. Census Bureau
NOTE: 2008 is a weighted sample of data from 2006 through 2008. Similalry, 2012 covers 2010 through 2012. Only households moving within the U.S. are shown.

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Are Red-Light, Bus-Lane, and Speed Cameras Becoming The Main Drivers of Revenue from Traffic Fines?

July 15th, 2014

  • Preliminary data for fiscal year 2014 indicate the city received about $41 million in revenue from camera-generated red-light, bus-lane, and now speeding summonses, as well as $14 million in ticket revenue from traffic violations written up by police officers. The proportion of revenue generated by cameras rose from 38 percent in 1999 to 75 percent in 2014.
  • The budget for this fiscal year, 2015, assumes that revenues from these sources will total about $62 million. The jump (from about $2 million to $8 million) in anticipated revenue from camera-generated speeding summonses is attributable to Albany’s recent approval of an increase of 120 in the number of speed cameras to be installed in school zones across the city. Twenty speed cameras have been in use in the city since January 2014 as part of a pilot program approved last year by the state.
  • The jump from $24 million in 2007 to $45 milion in 2008 in revenue from red light camera summones followed a state-authorized increase in the number of cameras installed throughout the city. Revenue from red-light camera summonses also spiked in 2011 to $71 million as a result of a ruling that unpaid red light summonses (in addition to unpaid parking tickets) would count towards the $350 threshold for having your car towed for unpaid tickets. Many motorists were required to pay delinquent red light camera fines that year in order to reclaim their vehicles from the tow pound.

Prepared by Bernard O’Brien
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: Mayors’s Office of Management and Budget; Financial Management System

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Did the City’s Subsidy for the Former Private Bus Lines Rise or Fall After Their Takeover by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority?

July 10th, 2014

NOTE: Metropolitan Transportation Authority transit operating expenditures include expenses for all MTA divisions except Bridges and Tunnels, MTA Bus (the former franchise bus lines), and Long Island Bus (no longer part of the MTA). Years 2006 and 2007 are not included due to incomplete data and the existence of substantial start-up costs.
  • In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg urged that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) take over the 82 express and local bus routes (most based in Queens) operated by seven private companies under franchise agreements that included city subsidies. He initially suggested that a takeover by the MTA could mean an end to city operating subsidies, which at that point totaled roughly $150 million to $175 million per year.
  • After reaching an agreement in 2004, the MTA took over the last of the routes in 2006. Under the new arrangement, the city reimburses the MTA for any operating expenses not covered by fares or a small amount of taxes dedicated to the bus lines.
  • Thanks in part to an influx of new buses, service has improved, but savings have not materialized. The city subsidy to MTA Bus—the subsidiary set up to run the lines—grew from $237 million in fiscal year 2008 to $393 million in 2013. The city’s payments to MTA Bus since 2008 have outpaced the growth in the operating budgets of both the city and the MTA’s other transit divisions.
  • The city also pays rent to some of the companies that had run the buses for use of their depots at a cost of about $17 million in fiscal year 2013, up from $14 million in 2008.

Prepared by Alan Treffeisen
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: Metropolitan Transportation Authority Financial Plans; Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget; IBO Fiscal History, Revenue and Expenditure Summary

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How Many Mentally Ill Inmates Are in City Jails? How Does This Compare with the Capacity of the City’s Psychiatric Facilities?

June 5th, 2014

NOTES: Jail numbers are the average for all of fiscal year 2013 and include inmates as young as 16. Psychiatric facility capacity numbers are point in time numbers as of April 2014 and are for adults only.
  • Of the daily average of 11,827 inmates in New York City jails, 37 percent, or 4,376 inmates on any given day, had a mental health diagnosis.
  • The combined capacity of all New York City inpatient psychiatric facilities is only slightly higher at 4,518.

Prepared by Christina Fiorentini and Nashla Rivas Salas
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: Mayor’s Management Report Fiscal 2013; New York State Division of Budget; New York State Office of Mental Health

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How Long Is the Commute for New York City High School Students From Their Homes to Their Schools?

May 29th, 2014

  • Citywide, the average high school student’s commute to school—by subway, bus, or foot—in school year 2011-2012 was estimated to take 32 minutes. In comparison, the commutes for city residents to jobs in the five boroughs averaged 39 minutes in 2012.
  • More than 1 in 5 high school students had commutes of 45 minutes or longer.
  • There was significant variation across census tracts in the share of students with longer commutes, reflecting both access to transit and school choice preferences.
  • The city’s Department of Education allows “hardship transfers” for high school students with commutes of more than 75 minutes. Less than 3 percent of high school students had commutes that long in school year 2011-2012.

 

The Geography of Student Commutes Longer Than 45 Minutes to School, School Year 2011-2012

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Prepared by Asa Wilks
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of Department of Education Data, American Community Survey
NOTES: Calculations based on GoogleMaps estimate of trip times as of January and February 2014 between each student’s home and school address. Calculations reflect commuting time during business hours for students attending New York City high schools during the 2011-2012 school year. Trip duration includes walking time.

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How Many Students Attend Nonpublic K-12 Schools in New York City?

April 22nd, 2014

  • In school year 2012-2013, 241,900 students attended nonpublic schools, 19 percent of the city K-12 total.
  • Nonpublic school enrollment declined by 23,100 (9 percent) since 2002-2003.
  • Public charter school enrollment grew by more than 56,000 over those 10 years.
  • Enrollment at traditional Department of Education schools declined by almost 65,000 in those same years.

NOTE: We use the New York State Education Department’s categorization of school affiliations in this graph. All Other includes schools listed in 12 other affiliations, 11 of which are religious in nature.

  • Jewish schools now serve the largest number of students among nonpublic schools, with enrollment close to 95,000.
  • Enrollment at Jewish schools has eclipsed that of Roman Catholic schools, historically the most popular alternative to public schools.
  • Enrollment in Roman Catholic schools declined by over 47,000 students (35 percent) from 2002-2003 through 2012-2013.
  • Independent schools have grown by 6,600 students (19 percent) in those same years.

  • Over 60 percent of nonpublic school students are white, compared with 15 percent of students in traditional Department of Education schools and 3 percent of students in charter schools.
  • Hispanics form the largest group in traditional Department of Education schools, with over 40 percent of enrollment.
  • Black students account for 59 percent of charter school enrollment.
  • The racial/ethnic composition of particular types of nonpublic schools is related in part to the schools’ religious and cultural affiliations. For example, 95 percent of students in Jewish schools are white, compared with 36 percent of students in Roman Catholic schools and 56 percent in independent schools.

Prepared by Raymond Domanico
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: All data on nonpublic schools is available on the New York State Department of Education website. All numbers for Department of Education and charter schools were calculated by IBO from New York City Department of Education student data files.

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How Much Has Snow Removal Cost the City in Recent Years?

February 7th, 2014

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  • The amount the city budgets each year for snow removal is set by a formula in the City Charter. The formula is the average of spending on snow removal in the five prior years—so the budget for 2014 is based on the actual amounts spent in fiscal years 2008–2012.
  • In some years the formula provides more funding than is needed while in other years, such as 2011 when the city had an extraordinary amount of snow, the formula-driven budget fell $87 million short of need. The formula budgeted $13 million more in 2012 than the city needed for snow removal and $19 million more in 2013.
  • If there is unused funding in the snow budget, that money is reallocated or becomes part of the city’s end of year budget surplus. Conversely, if the budgeted amount is short of what is needed, funds are drawn from other parts of the city budget to cover the expense.

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How Close Is NYC to Meeting the Affordable Housing Goals Set by the Bloomberg Administration?

January 30th, 2014

  • Ninety-five percent, or 156,351, of the planned New Housing Marketplace units were completed or underway through the end of 2013.
  • In 2008, the plan was revised and extended through 2014. The revised plan put more emphasis on preserving existing affordable housing through repairs and refinancing, which is less costly than new construction.
  • Since most of the housing to be preserved was already occupied, fewer units were being made available to new households.
  • In housing preservation projects, affordability is often guaranteed for shorter periods than for newly built housing.

Under Revised Plan More Units Are for Low-Income Households

  • The emphasis on preservation resulted in funds being directed to more units affordable to low-income households, as defined by federal regulations, than under the original plan.

See this IBO report for more information on the New Housing Marketplace Plan.

Prepared by Elizabeth Brown
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Department of Housing Preservation and Development
NOTES: All years are fiscal years. Units are recorded as starts when financing for a project is complete. Other includes units for superintendents, unrestricted units, and unknown. Area median income, based on a formula set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was $85,900 for a family of four in 2013.

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