Since its consolidation in 1898, New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. The government of New York is more centralized than that of most other U.S. cities. In New York City, the central government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. The mayor and councillors are elected to four-year terms. The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 Council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries. The mayor and councilors are limited to three consecutive four-year terms but can run again after a four year break.
The present mayor is Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat, former Republican (2001–2008), and current political independent elected on the Republican and Independence Party tickets against opponents supported by the Democratic and Working Families Parties in 2001 (50.3% of the vote to 47.9%), 2005 (58.4% to 39%) and 2009 (50.6% to 46%). He is known for taking control of the city's education system from the state, rezoning and economic development, sound fiscal management, and aggressive public health policy. In his second term he has made school reform, poverty reduction, and strict gun control central priorities of his administration. Together with Boston mayor Thomas Menino, in 2006 he founded the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization with the goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. As of November 2008, 67% of registered voters in the city are Democrats. New York City has not been carried by a Republican in a statewide or presidential election since 1924. Party platforms center on affordable housing, education and economic development, and labor politics are of importance in the city.
New York is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States, as four of the top five ZIP codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John Kerry. The city has a strong imbalance of payments with the national and state governments. It receives 83 cents in services for every $1 it sends to the federal government in taxes (or annually sends $11.4 billion more than it receives back). The city also sends an additional $11 billion more each year to the state of New York than it receives back.
Each borough is coextensive with a judicial district of the New York Supreme Court and hosts other state and city courts. Manhattan also hosts the Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, while Brooklyn hosts the Appellate Division, Second Department. Federal courts located near City Hall include the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Court of International Trade. Brooklyn hosts the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.