Distributing Discretionary Funds

March 6, 2013
It’s time again for the annual “budget dance,” in which the mayor and the city council negotiate another year’s spending. The majority of the council’s role is in providing feedback to the mayor’s office on the overall budget, but it is also responsible for distributing about one percent of the city’s $65 billion budget in discretionary funds.

The council’s discretionary budget may be a small portion of the city’s overall budget, but it shows the priorities of the council, as well as which councilmembers hold favor with the speaker, who has the final say in spending.

This maps shows which zip codes received more discretionary funds in fiscal year 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available). The nearly $90 million here represents 60 percent of the council’s expense budget, while the rest (and an additional $400 million in the council’s capital budget) went to citywide programs and agencies like the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development.

The darker the green, the higher the per capita rate of discretionary spending.

City council data from nycopendata. Population data from American Factfinder. Shapefile via John Weir.