Launches New Interactive Website for Budget Transparency

(New York, NY) — For the fourth year since its inception, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released the​​ Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) for Fiscal Year 2018, a complementary guide to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The PAFR is an important transparency tool, presenting critical information on the City’s revenues, expenses, budget, and capital projects in 31 easy-to-understand pages with dozens of explanatory graphs, charts, and images to help everyday New Yorkers understand the City budget.

This year, the PAFR report was released with an interactive, companion web page which makes it easier to look at year-by-year comparisons of the City’s budget and includes a roadmap to the City budget process, breaks-down budgetary and accounting language in layman’s terms, and includes a “Things to Know” section for New Yorkers to understand how the Comptroller’s office can assist them.

“The budget impacts everyone in New York City, which is why we work to make these critical numbers as accessible as possible. We started this PAFR report just four years ago, and it’s become an indispensable part of our budget reporting,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “With New Yorkers more engaged in local government than ever before, I encourage all New Yorkers to take a look – because our City is complex, large, and these numbers affect all of our day-to-day lives.”

The three previous reports have received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. The Fiscal Year 2018 PAFR has been submitted for the same award this year.

The majority of the data in the PAFR comes from the Comptroller’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which is released every year on October 31st. This year’s PAFR highlights:

New York City Saw its 8th Consecutive Year of Job Gains

  • The City added 76,600 private-sector jobs in FY 2018, a gain of 2.0%.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in FY 2018, the lowest rate on record; the labor-force participation rate rose to a record high of 60.9%; and the employment-to-population ratio rose to 58.3%, the highest on record.
  • Unemployment rates improved in all five boroughs, falling to 5.4% in the Bronx; 4.1% in Brooklyn; 3.6% in Manhattan; 3.5% in Queens; and 4.0% in Staten Island. These are record lows for each of New York City’s boroughs in more than a decade.

City Revenue

  • Overall, the City brought in about $89 billion in revenues in FY 2018, which comes from two major sources: program revenues, such as grants, and general revenues, like taxes.
  • In FY 2018, general revenues were almost $60 billion, an increase of $3.3 billion from FY 2017. The single greatest source for the increase was real estate taxes, which totaled over $26 billion.
  • In FY 2018, program revenue accounted for nearly $29 billion, an increase of $108 million from the previous year, primarily from grants received for education programs in the form of state and federal aid.

City Expenses

  • City expenses, including all related personnel and applicable pension and benefit costs, were almost $92 billion in FY 2018, an increase of roughly $5.8 billion from FY 2017.
  • The largest share of expenses was for education at $30 billion.

Breaking Down the City Budget

  • The PAFR explains the difference between the City’s “General Fund” – the main operating fund of the City – and other types of financial resources such as Capital and Debt.
  • The PAFR also includes information on “Component units” such as the Health and Hospitals Corporation (H+H), Water and Sewer Authority, and the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA), which are legally separate organizations for which the City is financially accountable.

City Capital Project Commitments Rose

  • New York City funds its capital projects through the Capital Budget, which is separate from the General Fund, and includes spending on City construction, purchases of land, buildings, and equipment – and is generally financed by the sale of government bonds.
  • Capital Authorized Expenditures totaled $13.458 billion, to be utilized for both current and future projects.
  • Significant capital projects included those of the Department of Education at $4 billion, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services at $2 billion, and the Department of Transportation at $1.479 billion.

Peer-City Comparisons

  • In 2017 – the most recent comparison available – New York City had 62.8 million tourists, outpacing Chicago, which had 55.2 million, and Philadelphia, which welcomed 43.3 million.
  • Each City provides different types and levels of service for its residents. In FY 2018, New York City spent over $11,522 per resident, while Philadelphia spent about $4,200 and Chicago spent about $2,700.

To read the full Popular Annual Financial Report for 2018, click here.

To view the interactive webpage, click here.

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