Mayor Eric Adams, who led the hard-fought crime-fighting platform to victory in November, spent his first few weeks in office due to a spate of violent crime in New York City. , including the killing of two police officers.
On Wednesday, Mr. Adams had the opportunity to embrace the initiative and detail his vision for the city, using his first proposed operating budget to demonstrate his intent to cut some free city spending – cut funding for most city agencies and definitively avoid increasing police budgets. He argued that he could improve public safety without increasing police spending by moving officers from desks to the street.
“We will redeploy our people, we will make sure that everyone who is supposed to be on the street does their job, and then we do the analysis if we have to. put more money on it,” Mr. Adams told a news conference at City Hall.
Mr. Adams’ $ 98.5 billion spending plan marks a break with his predecessor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Adams called for a gradual reduction in the city’s workforce that has grown to historic highs under Mr. de Blasio, proposing to cut 10,000 workers due to attrition and unfilled vacancies. The mayor also asked most city agencies to cut spending by 3% and proposed adding about $1 billion to the city’s reserve fund.
He has defended several agencies that failed to take the 3% budget cut, including the Department of Corrections, which is facing a crisis at the Rikers prison complex, and the Department of Health, which oversees response to the pandemic.
Mr. Adams said the city is facing “mixed economic signals” as it recovers from the pandemic. He said he was worried about high unemployment and workers delaying their return to the office. He said he spoke to dozens of business leaders Wednesday morning and urged them to bring workers back immediately.
“New York City can’t run from home,” he said, before adding, “It’s time to get back to work.”
But after months of prolonged economic decline, the mayor says the city is expected to receive $1.6 billion more in tax revenue in the current fiscal year than originally forecast, due to taxes. Personal and corporate income, sales tax and transaction tax were higher than expected. .
The higher property tax value contributed to a $726 million increase in revenue in the following fiscal year.
Mr. Adams said his budget proposal met his campaign vow to find savings, and several budget experts agreed. Andrew Rein, chair of the Citizens Budget Committee, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group, said the proposal included “important, welcome and refreshing first steps in the right direction, including” reduce unnecessary vacancies”.
On keeping police spending steady, Mr Rein said: “He was absolutely right about that. I think that’s the right approach.”
In the summer of 2020, New York City was among many places to re-examine the role of policing in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A fierce debate divided the City Council before it finally changed 1 billion dollars from the police department.
Mr. Adams, a former police captain who took office in January, said he disagreed with the efforts to displease the police and that he would keep the number of officers at about 35,000 for the time being. He has shown willingness to increase police funding in the future if necessary.
“I won’t do anything to get in the way of keeping New Yorkers safe,” he said.
Mr. Adams’ budget is about the same size as the current budget, about $107 billion – slightly above the total cost of Mr. Adams’ spending plan when it is adjusted to include all unpaid spending obligations and federal contributions.
An important part of Mr. de Blasio’s legacy is city budget expansion and its workforce. His final budget was $25 billion higher than first budget in 2014; The city’s workforce has grown to more than 325,000 employees, an all-time high.
Union leaders, who may oppose the job loss and who must negotiate a new contract with Mr. Adams, have been eerily quiet. A major police union, the Police Charity Association and the 37th District Council, the largest public servants union, both declined to comment on the budget Wednesday night. Mr Adams, who was strongly supported by unions in the election, may have appeased them by noting in his budget proposal that he intends to eliminate $500 million in unspecified labor savings. from future budgets.
Mr Adams argued that his budget plan focused on “fairness, justice and safety”, and predicted “an urban renaissance unlike anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes”. “.
The budget proposal includes funding a summer youth program to provide 100,000 jobs, reduce transportation costs for low-income New Yorkers, and extend a tax credit to poor New Yorkers. – something Mr. Adams promised to do during the campaign. The city will also face a fearsome deficit in the coming years, starting with about $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2024.
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Kathryn Wylde, president of a prominent business group, Partnership for New York City, praised Mr. Adams’ approach.
“The business community thinks Eric is on the right track with keeping the limits on spending increases and focusing on important issues like public safety, youth employment and mental health.” she said.
One of the few agencies that has seen spending increase is the Department of Corrections, where the budget Mr. Adams has proposed increases to $1.2 billion from about $800 million. Mr. Adams supports the plan to close Rikers and he has proposed more immediate changes to reduce violence there.
Mr. Adams included funding for other priorities: approximately $25 million to create more childcare space by providing property tax breaks for property owners; $30 million for health checks and home visits for first-time mothers; and $13 million to support young people out of foster care.
Mr. Adams has announced a commitment to spend $75 million on an existing program to give poor New Yorkers half-price MetroCards – an amount less than Adrienne Adams, Council speaker, has called for, but many than the city spent. . About 260,000 people have registered to participate in the programSubway and bus fare subsidies for New Yorkers with incomes below the federal poverty level.
In the coming months, Mr. Adams must negotiate the budget with the City Council, which has many new members. The Mayor and Council are required to reach a final budget agreement by July 1.
Ms Adams, speaker of the Council, and Justin Brannan, chair of the finance committee, issued a joint statement calling the mayor’s proposal a “promising start” and said they would fulfill the role. by holding hearings. They say their goals are similar: “fairness, financial accountability, and a strong recovery for New York City.”
If the budget is approved and spent as proposed, it could be the first city budget to reflect the city’s overall spending cuts since 2009, according to the Independent Budget Office. The Council’s consent is not a certainty; Its political structure lies to the left of Mr. Adams, and it may seek to increase spending in the areas of social justice.
Earlier in the week Mr. Adams announced $79 million for a summer jobs program, along with Ms. Adams, who is not related to the mayor. He says ensuring young people have jobs will keep them busy and help reduce crime.
“Show me where you put your money, that’s where your priorities are,” Mr Adams said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We are opening doors of opportunity for our sons and daughters in this city, who have seen doors slammed in their faces in history.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/16/nyregion/budget-adams-police-nyc.html Eric Adams proposes $98 billion budget with fixed police funding