New York City Budget Deal and New Reports on Building for Proximity
New York City has a $107 billion budget deal for fiscal 2024 and two recent studies look at transportation, housing, and connections to activity centers.
The recent New York City budget deal included restoration of unpopular cuts, such as reduced spending at public libraries, which had faced strong opposition from the City Council and residents. Additionally, the budget introduced new initiatives, including a cost-of-living bonus for nonprofit workers contracted with the city.
While the budget is approximately $6 billion higher than the previous year, it is only marginally larger than the Mayor’s proposal in April. The inclusion of new initiatives was made possible by billions in unexpected revenue, allowing for additional priorities without significantly increasing the overall budget. However, fiscal watchdogs express concerns about the city being overcommitted and suggest that the surplus funds should have been saved in the Rainy Day Fund. To acknowledge this reality, many of the newly funded programs are only allocated for one year.
New York City Budget Deal
The fiscal year 2024 New York City budget, by the numbers City and State New York
Developments in Higher Education
State Funding Rose Last Year. Will it Last? Inside Higher Ed
Transit still has a long way to go to recover ridership to pre-pandemic levels. As commuter rail recovers, and people never lost a preference for cars, transit faces an existential question regarding its future. While some transit agencies have gotten additional tax subsidies, others have not and face substantial cuts in service.
Building for proximity: The role of activity centers in reducing total miles traveled Brookings Institution
Researchers used real-world data to estimate travel patterns for residents in the 110 largest U.S. metro areas. They measured the relationship between residential proximity to activity centers and overall trip distances.
Living near multiple activity centers significantly reduces travel distances and can cut annual miles traveled by more than half. The proximity to the fifth-nearest activity center has the strongest influence on overall residential travel patterns.
Closer proximity to multiple activity centers can lead to savings of approximately $920 to $1,200 in annual transportation expenses and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,455 to 3,020 pounds for the average driver.
Despite the benefits, only 37% of residents in the 110 largest metro areas live within 3 miles of five activity centers, indicating a lack of proximity to such centers for many people.
Travel benefits from living near activity centers are observed across various metro areas, regardless of age or urban form, and these trends remain consistent before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Built Environment Poll (May 2023) Valley Vision and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)
Many respondents prefer single-family homes but find housing in their own neighborhoods unaffordable; buying homes is expected to become more challenging in the next five years. Concerns exist about rapid housing development despite the pressing issues of housing shortage, rising costs, and homelessness in the region.
Transportation primarily relies on personal vehicles, with traffic congestion being a major regional issue even during the pandemic. There is a need to reconsider and strengthen clean, safe, affordable, and accessible transit options, walkable and bikeable communities, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
Encouragement of mixed-use and dense development is important for housing affordability, as rental housing experiences greater financial hardship.
Planning a transportation system that addresses congestion concerns through public transportation, mixed-use development, and electric vehicle infrastructure is crucial for the region's future.
Do Municipal Bond Investors Pay a Convenience Premium to Avoid Taxes? National Bureau of Economic Research
Researchers found a significant convenience premia exist in the prices of state-issued tax-exempt municipal bonds, similar to those observed in Treasury markets.
The presence of these premia is attributed to tax-related factors, including tax and fiscal uncertainty, forecast flows into state municipal bond funds, and outmigration from high-tax to low-tax states.
Findings indicate that investors are willing to pay a considerable premium in order to minimize their tax obligations.
The convenience premium is shown to be correlated with tax and fiscal uncertainty and is linked to various measures of investor tax aversion.
Findings suggest that investors are willing to pay a premium for securities that offer tax insulation.
Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author and the author alone.