Comptroller Rolls Out Simple-to-Read NYC Finances

NEW YORK (AP) -

Citing a need for more transparency in government, New York City’s chief financial watchdog on Thursday released a new handbook about the city’s financial status.

“It’s an easy to read guide as to numbers in the city,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said of the report, known as the Popular Annual Financial Report. “We crunch tremendous amounts of data, but it’s never easy to read.”

The city’s first Popular Annual Financial Report, or PAFR, compresses thousands of pages of records which typically fill a voluminous report each year into a 20-page document.

Among other things, the PAFR examines the city’s $78.5 billion operating budget and $14 billion capital budget in simplified graphs and charts. It shows that New York gained about 10.5 percent more jobs compared to 2008, more than a third of the city’s spending went to education in 2015, and that actual spending by city agencies came in about $1.6 billion lower than expected in the 2015 budget.

It also analyzes taxes, reporting a $4 billion increase over 2014 and shows that the total taxable assessed value of real estate is $187 billion — more than seven times that of Chicago.