Mayor Adams’ Call For 5% November Budget Cuts From Harlem To Hollis

November 16, 2023

Amid growing investigations by the FBI and the Manhattan DA into corruption in his administration.

Mayor Eric Adams is proposing 5% across-the-board budget cuts, despite the City holding $9 billion in reserves and skepticism about the Mayor’s claims about the total fiscal impact of asylum seeker support.

“The richest city in the world with billions in reserves should be investing in fully funded schools, universal 3-K, a world-class CUNY, and a wraparound social safety net for all,” said Zara Nasir, executive director of The People’s Plan. “Instead, New Yorkers are getting shortchanged by a mayoral administration that has demonstrated time and time again that it is not fit to lead to the city. We need a halt to these devastating cuts during this time of mayoral scandals and corruption allegations, and intervention by the New York City Council to provide leadership and do everything in their power to reject Mayor Adams’s cuts. New Yorkers deserve better than bare minimums – and better than this mayor.”

“These are unnecessary budget cuts to our public schools.  They are driven by City Hall’s false political narrative that New York City is about to fall off a fiscal cliff.  Revenues are higher than expected, investment from Albany is up, and reserves are at a near-record high. Rather than protect our public schools, City Hall proposes to cut overall funding, and on top of that, is making good on another threat by clawing back $109 million from city classrooms. That means 653 schools – 43% of the school system – will be hit now with midyear budget cuts. Class sizes will rise, and school communities will be needlessly damaged. At a time when Albany has sent more money to New York City and has sought to correct a decades-long inequity by passing a law to lower New York City class sizes, City Hall is undermining that work by reducing support to students, educators, and school communities,” said  Michael Mulgrew, president, United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

“The 70,000 New Yorkers who attend seven CUNY community colleges deserve a top notch education, not repeated cuts to faculty and support services,” said James Davis, President, Professional Staff Congress (PSC-CUNY).

“The latest announcement of budget cuts reads like a masterclass in gaslighting, as Mayor Adams opens by claiming that his administration has ‘delivered’ for New Yorkers, and then immediately details devastating cuts to education and other critical services, despite the city’s $9 billion in reserves,” said Amshula Jayaram, Campaign Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “In the years that he has presided over the city’s budget, he has done nothing to prepare the city to meet this critical moment that we all knew was coming. It’s time for New York to have a leader with the vision to guide our city’s students, schools and families through challenges, and the moral clarity to ensure that we do not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

“Mayor Adams is pursuing an agenda of death by a thousand cuts,” said Ana María Archila and Jasmine Gripper, Co-Executive Directors of the New York Working Families Party. “As any teacher, librarian, or health care worker will tell you: there’s nothing left to cut. City workers are overburdened, families are still waiting to receive benefits, and there’s no plan in place for the next extreme weather event. At a time when half of NYC households can’t afford the cost of living, we should be stepping up our investments in working communities, not defunding the services they rely on.”

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“Our Mayor is in crisis, and these cuts will bring all New Yorkers down with him,” said Jawanza Williams, Managing Director of Organizing at VOCAL-NY. “As he struggles with legal woes and fails to house incoming and currently homeless New Yorkers, cutting funding will make our city worse off – not better. Our city deserves investments in proven solutions to keep people safe and well: housing, harm reduction, and community services. When people look back at Mayor Adams’ tenure, his legacy will be mired with shady dealings and policies that will markedly hurt our communities, especially those that are already struggling.”

“Once again, Mayor Adams’ priorities are upside down; he’s more focused on his own corruption scandals than he is on running and caring for our city,” said Alicia Singham Goodwin, Political Director of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice. “All Adams is offering New Yorkers is a backsliding budget that short-changes our future. We reject his regressive agenda. We deserve a mayor who prioritizes the people of New York.”

“Five rounds of budget cuts, that’s what the Eric Adams administration has done to New York City in less than two years, and in January he is going to do it again, then again in April.”  said James Inniss, Public Safety Campaigner at New York Communities for Change.  “If this Mayor had an actual plan for the arrival of asylum seekers rather than paying hotels for housing, maybe he wouldn’t have to continue to cut Public Education, Social and Homelessness Services.  These budget cuts are the real risk to public safety in New York City and Mr. Adams should focus on managing this city and not scapegoating arriving migrants to distract from his upcoming legal issues.”

“The new cuts are reported to eliminate CUNY support programs…”

If not blocked by the City Council, this will be the fifth round of cuts enacted by the Mayor. Performance and Management Reports released in September show that essential services are already downgraded; from fire and emergency response to SNAP and housing assistance. The new cuts are reported to eliminate CUNY support programs, early education seats, library programming, a critical city jobs initiative, and migrant services, among many other programs. 

Governmental and independent budget watchdogs have pointed to a number of strategies for managing the city’s fiscal issues without requiring such severe cuts, including curtailing uniformed overtime, undoing the hiring freeze at revenue-generating agencies, and using some of the city’s $9B reserve fund. In addition, the Independent Budget Office (IBO) reported that the administration had overstated asylum-seeker costs by up to $1.6B dollars, and the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) has stated that the Mayor has “significantly overstates the fiscal impact of migrant arrivals,” naming that proposed budget cuts of $10 billion per year are “billions of dollars higher than the increased cost estimates for asylum seekers.” 

The People’s Plan is a collective vision for a City that provides dignity, care, and justice for all New Yorkers. It offers the priorities of hundreds of organizers and advocates through a comprehensive, multi-issue roadmap around housing, anti-criminalization, education, economy, climate, transit, and health. The intent of The People’s Plan is to set the agenda for a racially and socially just city and provide a clear people-centered mandate for 2023 and beyond.

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