New York City should use its nearly $4 billion surplus to retire debt rather than use it cover operating expenses in fiscal 2009, the Citizens Budget Commission said in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week.

“In the past, you have wisely devoted significant portions of any surplus revenues to purposes with long-term benefits; you should continue that practice in this year’s budget by retiring more debt, retaining pay-go capital payments, or contributing to the retiree health insurance trust fund,” CBC chairman James L. Lipscomb wrote. “Although this would create a gap in the fiscal year 2009 budget, it is more responsible to address this gap now.”

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