Friday, April 18, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Hizzoner Reaches for His Green Visor

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Usually a budget address isn't a time for excitement and reaching for the popcorn but it's worth watching Mayor de Blasio's inaugural fiscal speech today. (Shamless plug: NY1 will be bringing it to you live at 1:15 p.m. or whatever the equivalent is in de Blasio Standard Time).

While de Blasio has given scores of stemwinders over the last 12 years, he's likely never delivered a heavily-watched speech that centers around such sexy terms as "non-recurring revenue" and the "out years." (Ironically, in Michael Bloomberg's first year in office, the only time he looked entirely comfortable talking to reporters in City Hall was when he gave his preliminary budget plan in 2002.)

It could be a Tale of Two Speeches for de Blasio who has relentlessly pushed his pre-K plan and talked about bridging the income gap but largely left other topics unaddressed. It's still not clear how he'll handle all of those open municipal contracts and – as Kate Taylor points out in today's Times – tries to gloss over a budget surplus that could be as large as $3 billion.

But rather than swallowing his tongue at the threat of talking about numbers, the mayor could surprise some of his critics by showing some aplomb in the fiscal world. As a candidate, de Blasio's knock was that he wasn't prepared to be mayor because he employed fewer than 40 employees in the Public Advocate's office with a budget just over $2 million. (Compare that to the city's $70 BILLION budget and a workforce of about 300,000).

This could be a day where the mayor calms many in the real estate and Wall Street community who have been grumbling about the proposed pre-K income tax. Let's see if de Blasio can embrace his inner PowerPoint.

Bob Hardt

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