Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a proposed budget for the next fiscal year that he said was balanced and avoided tax increases or layoffs of teachers or uniformed workers, but he warned of estimated deficits in years to come.
Bloomberg gave details on his $68.7 billion preliminary budget on Thursday. The fiscal year for 2013 begins July 1.
The mayor's budget proposal is traditionally the opening salvo in a lengthy series of negotiations between policymakers, elected officials and advocates. His suggestions don't always make it into the final plan, which requires the approval of the City Council.
Last year, the mayor's initial budget plan called for cutting thousands of city teachers. The layoffs would have been the city's first public school pink slips since the economic crisis of the 1970s. But the final budget reduced the teaching force only through attrition — dropping an estimated 2,600 teachers from the rolls.
In his administration's latest formal budget update in November, Bloomberg signaled the city was expecting to face a $2 billion shortfall even after accounting for infusions of billions of dollars from new taxi medallion revenue and a retiree health care fund. But the following month, the city's Independent Budget Office predicted the shortfall would be less severe, at $1.2 billion.
On Thursday, Bloomberg said the shortfall was closed because of higher revenues coming into the city and lower health care costs.
But he warned of gaps in the years to come. He said estimates put the budget deficit at $3 billion in fiscal year 2014, $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2015 and $3.4 billion in fiscal year 2016.