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New York City to have US$1.6b budget surplus

[NEW YORK] New York City will have a budget surplus totaling US$1.6 billion in fiscal years 2015 and 2016, due mainly to higher-than-anticipated tax revenues, the city's top financial watchdog said on Tuesday.

The higher tax revenues would be a boon to New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who predicted a balanced budget in both years when he outlined his spending plans earlier this month. Mr De Blasio is committed to big-ticket items such as universal pre-school and affordable housing.

Tuesday's report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer predicts that tax revenues in 2015 and 2016 will be around US$1 billion higher than the city's forecast, pointing to the city's "solid"economic recovery.

New York City has the largest regional economy in the United States.

The comptroller also predicts revenues will be US$3.5 billion higher in the three following years through 2019. That would significantly narrow budget gaps the city has forecast in those years.

"New York City has benefited from a solid economic recovery, but the possibility of a downturn can never be discounted," Mr Stringer said.