• The unrestricted fund balance remained at zero while actual cash and investments were adequate
  • Financial performance was generally stable, year-over-year
  • The city's debt and OPEB liability burdens are high relative to other large cities

General fund year-over-year performance
Fiscal year ending Jun 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2017 Change % Change
Revenues and expenses
Revenues 79,399,507,000 83,029,725,000 +3,630,218,000 +4.6%
Expenses 73,700,743,000 77,027,929,000 +3,327,186,000 +4.5%
Revenues over expenses 5,698,764,000 6,001,796,000 +303,032,000 +5.3%
Transfers in -5,852,720,000 -6,136,099,000 -283,379,000 n/a
Transfers out 0 0 +0 n/a
Net revenues including transfers -153,956,000 -134,303,000 +19,653,000 n/a
Net revenue margin -0.2% -0.2% +0.0%
Fund balances
Nonspendable 472,819,000 478,029,000 +5,210,000 +1.1%
Total general fund balance 472,819,000 478,029,000 +5,210,000 +1.1%
Total fund balance over expenses 0.6% 0.6% -0.0%
Unrestricted fund balance 0 0 +0 n/a
Unrestricted fund balance over expenses 0.0% 0.0% +0.0%

New York City published its fiscal year 2017 financial statement this week, showing generally stable financial performance. General fund revenues increased 4.6%, driven by higher federal, state and other categorical aid and real estate taxes. Higher education expenses helped raise expenses 4.5%. The city's general fund balance stayed about even at a low 0.6% of expenses. The low fund balance and high OPEB liability stand out compared with other large cities.

Pension funding slightly improved

New York City's pension funded ratio improved and its pension burden declined, year-over-year. The city has five pension plans with a blended funded ratio of 71.2%, up from 65.6% the previous year. The net pension liability attributed to governmental funds was $56 billion in 2017, representing 66.2% of governmental revenues. This puts the city's pension burden near the median for cities with populations over 200,000. The city made its full actuarially determined contribution in 2017.

Year-over-year ratio analysis
Fiscal year ending Jun 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2017 Change
Fund balance ratios
Total fund balance over revenues 0.6% 0.6% -0.0%
Total fund balance over expenses 0.6% 0.6% -0.0%
Unrestricted fund balance over revenues 0.0% 0.0% +0.0%
Unrestricted fund balance over expenses 0.0% 0.0% +0.0%
Cash and investments over expenses 19.3% 15.8% -3.5%
Revenue and expense ratios
Net revenue margin -0.2% -0.2% +0.0%
Debt ratios
Debt over governmental revenues 108.2% 107.3% -0.9%
Governmental debt per capita 10,285 10,674 +389
Pension ratios
Net pension liability over revenues 79.9% 66.2% -13.7%
Pension funded ratio 65.6% 71.2% +5.6%
Pension ADC percent contributed 100.0% 100.0% +0.0%
OPEB ratios
OPEB UAAL over revenues 90.0% 103.7% +13.7%
OPEB funded ratio 4.4% 5.0% +0.6%
OPEB percent contributed 42.5% n/a n/a

Low fund balance and OPEB obligation stands out

Among the five largest cities in the U.S., New York's low fund balance stands out at near-zero. Its cash and investment balance sits in the middle, with Chicago and Houston lower and Phoenix and Los Angeles higher. The city's debt per capita is far greater than the other large cities, though this is partly due to New York's Department of Education residing within the city rather than as a separate public entity.

New York's OPEB liability of $88 billion is particularly high among large cities. The liability represents 104% of primary government revenues, putting NYC in the bottom 10 percentile (with a lower percentile representing a higher burden).

Credit New York City, NY (city) Chicago, IL (city) Los Angeles, CA (city) Houston, TX (city) Phoenix, AZ (city)
Fund balance ratios
Total fund balance over expenses 0.6% 7.8% 22.5% 12.9% 34.2%
Total fund balance over revenues 0.6% 7.3% 21.0% 11.5% 31.1%
Unrestricted fund balance over expenses 0.0% 7.1% 21.5% 12.0% 26.8%
Unrestricted fund balance over revenues 0.0% 6.7% 20.1% 10.7% 24.4%
Assigned and unassigned fund balance over expenses 0.0% 7.1% 21.5% 11.5% 26.8%
Assigned and unassigned fund balance over revenues 0.0% 6.7% 20.1% 10.3% 24.4%
Cash and investments over expenses 15.8% 2.8% 24.8% 11.9% 21.2%
Revenue ratios
Net revenue margin -0.2% 1.5% 1.3% -3.9% 2.1%
Debt ratios
Debt over governmental revenues 107.3% 154.4% 42.0% 104.8% 105.8%
Governmental debt per capita 10,674 3,849 802 1,410 1,391
Pension ratios
Net pension liability over revenues 66.2% 467.4% 80.4% 172.5% 156.6%
Pension funded ratio 71.2% 21.0% 82.8% 62.7% 50.7%
Pension ADC percent contributed 100.0% 26.8% 99.5% 95.3% 100.0%
Pension ADC over primary government revenues 10.8% 23.4% 8.6% 8.4% 7.1%
Pension contribution over primary government revenues 10.8% 6.3% 8.6% 8.0% 7.1%
OPEB ratios
OPEB UAAL over revenues 103.7% 7.6% 18.2% 42.0% 8.0%