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MTA to Balance Books with a Change to Budget Cycle

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has fallen into such dire financial straits that it's changing its budgeting cycle, at least temporarily. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports.

REPORTER: The MTA decided to create an 18-month budget starting in July, instead of seeing through the current 12-month budget that ends in December. That way, the authority can borrow money this year and wait until next year to pay it back, while still appearing to have balanced its books.

The city's Independent Budget Office says the unusual move is apparently legal. But Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester says it raises other issues.

BRODSKY: It's gimmicky in that it doesn't provide any more money. It's gimmicky in the sense that they can't change their fiscal year.

REPORTER: The move would become unnecessary if the state legislature approves a plan that would steer more taxes or fees towards the MTA in the coming weeks. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

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