Mayor Adams laid his cards — and his administration’s priorities — on the table with his preliminary budget proposal for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The plan calls for a budget of $98.53 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1. If passed by City Council as written, it would represent a reduction from the $106.5 billion that is expected to be spent this year,
The Adams administration forecasts what the mayor said in his February 16 budget speech, manageable deficits of $2.7 billion, $2.2 billion and $3 billion for the next three years, respectively. .
“I made a commitment to New Yorkers to spend taxpayers’ money more wisely, while making the upstream investments necessary to ensure a robust recovery — and this administration’s first draft budget achieves exactly that,” Adams said. in a statement released by his office. “We’re cutting spending, making government more efficient, investing in public safety, and providing much-needed help to working families in our city.”
Among the savings initiatives highlighted by Adams are nearly $2 billion in departmental cuts under the Program to Close the Gap initiative. Even the NYPD was not spared. Adams’ proposal also cuts the city’s workforce by 3,200 this year and 7,000 next year through attrition without layoffs.
The plan will boost the city’s budget reserves to a record $6.1 billion.
Among the spending that Adams says will help spur economic activity are expanding the New York earned income tax credit to $250 million; earmark funds for a minimum of 100,000 summer jobs for young people; and establishing a base of $75 million per year for Fair Fare discount MetroCards for low-income residents.
“With this preliminary budget, we have taken the very first steps to transforming our city,” Adams said. “The best city in the world will be even more beautiful if we focus on the essentials. New Yorkers and visitors should feel safe on our streets, in our subways and schools, and in their homes.
“The government must work for the people and use taxpayers’ money effectively. Above all, New Yorkers need to feel confident and optimistic that their city is working for them and looking out for their future. »
Negotiations with the Council are already underway and will be accelerated. The city charter requires that a new budget be approved by July 1.
In a statement released by the office of Board Chair Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica), she and Finance Committee Chair Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) welcomed the proposal for many of the spending and investments described by the mayor.
“This is a promising start to the budget process, and the Council looks forward to fulfilling its role in reviewing this preliminary budget through hearings and other efforts,” they said.
From the GOP side of the aisle, Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) said she was encouraged — until now.
“This is a very preliminary budget,” Ariola said in an interview. “There are a lot of things this city has needed for a long time, like fiscal prudence.”
Ariola said Adams seemed to move thoughtfully and deliberately. She said she supports her belief that city agencies and staff need to be managed and operated more efficiently.
But as chair of the fire and emergency management committee, she wants to speak to the mayor about what she said were plans to reduce the workforce of 20 engine companies within the FDNY from five to four firefighters.
In a statement from the Citizens Budget Committee, Chairman Andrew Rein had both praise and trouble.
“Mayor Eric Adams’ preliminary budget offers important, welcome and refreshing initial steps in the right direction, in particular the reduction of unnecessary vacancies to achieve recurring savings and the removal of the $500 million in labor savings specious work – a victory for fiscal integrity,” Rein said.
But he said some of the mayor’s estimates are somewhat misleading, and that to strengthen New York’s competitiveness and its ability to serve its residents in the future, “the city should take significant additional steps in the executive and passed to make government more efficient, stave off looming fiscal cliffs, and save for the inevitable next recession.