Some Council Members and I are proposing an alternative budget that would improve school employee pay, allow the city to pay its debts without selling off one-time assets, and allow a small cushion to get through to the next scheduled property value reassessment in two years. Read about that here.
Some are asking whether the alternative budget makes up for the $9M shortfall for transit funding in the administration’s proposed budget.
It does not include the $9 million for transit…but here is where I am coming from:
There are severe timing problems that squeeze any alternative budget. Creating a substitute budget is time-consuming and that work had to start two weeks ago within days of the Mayor’s budget being proposed. Also, the Council rules are designed to favor a choice between 2 budgets — the Mayor’s budget and the Substitute from the Budget & Finance Committee Chair. My alternative — a “Second Substitute” — is not allowed to have any amendments under the Council Rules. It must be take-it-or-leave-it according to the Council rules.
Together, this means that any Second Substitute has to be created in early May and is not allowed to have any amendments at all. Again, this puts a tremendous squeeze on what is possible. To be perfectly honest, I had to start work on the alternate before I knew about the shortfall on transit funding.
When I started, I assumed that there would be some surprise cuts — I just didn’t know what they would be. To deal with this, my alternative focuses on only the most basic concepts — pay employees, pay debts, and don’t sell off one-time assets. HOWEVER, my proposed alternative would replenish the city’s Funds Balance savings account with $27 million. It would be possible (IF WE CAN GET CONSENSUS IN THE COUNCIL) to do a supplemental MTA appropriation in July to make up for the shortfall.