De Blasio to Bail Out Public Hospitals as Tax Revenue Rises

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -

After three straight years of increased tax revenue, Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to spend an additional $800 million next year to shore up the finances of money-losing public hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.

The mayor’s proposed $82.2 billion budget for fiscal 2017, presented last week Tuesday, includes $700 million more for hospital operations and $100 million in bond-derived capital funds. The infusion brings to $2 billion the total the city would spend on its 11 public hospitals and system of community clinics, assisted living facilities and home health care.

“This plan will not close any more hospitals or lay off any workers, but expand comprehensive health care, especially in high-need communities,” de Blasio said. “We are implementing long-term sustainable solutions, rather than band-aid fixes, to stabilize hospital finances and save our public health-care system.”

By February, the city collected $723 million more revenue than officials had anticipated in November, according to a March 1 report by Comptroller Scott Stringer. The mayor also said he saved about $2.3 billion by eliminating waste and unsuccessful programs.

As sweeteners made possible by good times, de Blasio proposed a one-time $183 credit off a year’s water bill for 664,000 homeowners in single-to-three-family residences, and a $250 credit for 40,000 landlords of buildings featuring “affordable apartments.”

The City Council must approve a spending plan by June 30, after negotiations with the mayor.