Why brokering the New York City budget is like an endless trip to Ikea

The annual budget dance between the mayor and City Council begins today at 1 p.m., when the mayor releases his preliminary budget at City Hall. Between now and June, the mayor and City Council will tussle over their priorities for the $200 to $300 million available out of the $66 billion total in annual city spending. Here’s how the budget pas-de-deux usually goes:

Step 1: The Mayor proposes a budget, typically including cuts he knows the Council will never approve.

Step 2: From February through June the council protests the mayor’s proposals while offering alternatives and drawing lines in the sand.

Step 3: In June the mayor and council strike a deal. They restore some cuts and councilmembers can return to constituents able to claim they saved cherished line items.

Step 4: Repeat the following year.

As The New York World’s Alex Hotz and Michael Keller explain in the video above, the art of brokering a multibillion New York City budget should be familiar to anyone who has ever lived with roommates.

Don’t miss Alex’s preview of what to expect in the mayor’s budget this year.



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