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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.

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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.