City Comptroller Scott Stringer recently delivered testimony before the City Council Finance Committee on the FY18 Executive Budget.
By Forum Staff
As the national economy reaches its full employment level, the five boroughs should prepare for growth to taper off, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who recently testified before the City Council Finance Committee on the Fiscal Year 2018 Executive Budget.
Stringer initially noted last Thursday as he spoke to the Council panel that NYC’s economic outlook “remains strong.”
“We’ve hit the lowest unemployment rate since the government began recording it in 1976, now at 4.1 percent. And labor force participation is up to 61.3 percent, also the highest on record,” the comptroller said.
However, Stringer pointed out that his Office is projecting growth to dwindle and a slowdown in job creation.
“The situation in Washington, under the Trump administration, is so uncertain, that the risk to the U.S. economy is higher than ever,” Stringer added.
Stringer also on Thursday released a preliminary analysis of President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal. According to the comptroller, the White House’s budget would have a devastating impact on New York, touching every borough, changing the lives of millions of residents, and fundamentally shredding the safety net as we know it. In all, Stringer’s Office said it had identified at least $850 million in cuts to the city.
“This budget has been called dead on arrival in Congress — and let’s hope so, because lives are at stake,” Stringer said. “President Trump’s budget wittingly targets New York and strips our most vulnerable of services they need. It’s deliberately designed to shred the safety net as we know it — and virtually nothing goes untouched. Counterterrorism, Medicaid, adult literacy, affordable housing, teachers, infrastructure, seniors — all of it is slashed. My message to President Trump is this: this document doesn’t put taxpayers first — it puts everyday New Yorkers last. Budgets are about priorities, but they’re also a statement of values. It doesn’t get any more heartless – or more catastrophic – than this. It’s yet another document from this White House designed to support billionaires at the expense of the rest of us, and it’s wrong.”
Additionally, Stringer presented to the Finance Committee his priorities “for improving the lives of everyday New Yorkers,” including: Supporting the immigrant population at the local level by reducing the cost burden of citizenship applications; Supporting non-profit social service providers; and addressing what he deemed a “glaring problem” – procurement at the City Department of Education.
According to Stringer, “Time and time again, my office finds that current departmental processes are inadequate. The facts are straightforward. Whether it is through an audit of DOE or a review of DOE’s contracts, we find a lack of transparency and a lack of detail that is frightening when you are talking about billions of dollars earmarked for our children,” including:
• Inadequate oversight and documentation of project and contract spending;
• A failure to ensure that payments for goods and services are appropriate and for work properly done;
• A lack of transparency in the bidding process;
• Use of limited or non-competitive procurement processes;
• And an inability to account for unspent funds.
“There is no good reason that an agency representing nearly 30 percdent of the entire City budget, with a contract budget of $6.7 billion, should not be subject to the same level of scrutiny as all other City agencies,” Stringer said. “Don’t get me wrong – no one is more for Mayoral Control than me. But that passion for control must be met with the highest expectations of transparency and accountability. So I am asking for your help to call hearings to get to the bottom of this — because our kids deserve a school system that functions at the absolute highest level of performance.”