City agencies are being asked to cut another five percent from their budgets come January for the next fiscal year, but Mayor Eric Adams said that the NYPD, the Fire Department and the Sanitation Department will be spared from those cuts.
Adams said the cuts he unveiled on Nov. 16 as he tries to close a $7.1 billion budget gap was “extremely challenging” and a “real tough exercise.”
The cuts are necessary to pay for the estimated 140,000 asylum seeking migrants who have landed in New York City in the past year. “Our national government has defunded New York City unbelievably” he said at his weekly press briefing at City Hall. And he warned: “Visible signs of the [migrant] crisis are going to show itself,” he said, noting that some asylum seekers could chose to live on the streets. “Our goal is to not have people sleeping on the streets,” he said. “And actually, believe it or not, there are migrant and asylum seekers who say, ‘we want to live on the streets’.” He added that people “have the right to live on the streets.”
“I know New Yorkers are angry,” he said. “New York City tax dollars should not be going to pay for a national problem,” Adams said, noting that in some weeks, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 asylum seeking migrants have landed in NY.
While he said would he spare the NYPD, the FDNY and Sanitation from the next round of cuts in January’s preliminary budget proposal, he said there is no guarantee that they will be spared from subsequent rounds. “If need be, they will have to be included in the next round,” he said. “We have to balance the budget.”
Governor Kathy Hochul said she would work with the city to find funds to help on the migrant crisis and to use NY State troopers in areas where they could step in take some of the responsibilities from the NYPD.
Under the Nov. 16 budget cuts, Adams proposed halting the next five police academy classes, which critics that when coupled with a growing number of officers opting to retire, the move would cut the NYPD workforce to under 29,000 officers. That would be its lowest level since the late 80s and early 90s. The FDNY under that proposal was going to force firefighters on modified duty to either return to active duty or be forced to retire, which would impact up to 1,000 firefighters. Both moves were roundly criticized by their respective union representatives.
Regarding terrorist threats, Adams said the NYPD is “on top of this. Nobody does it better than the NYPD and their partners.”
He said since the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct 7, the city has seen over 300 protests and marches, but there has been very little violence, even though he said sometimes the demonstrations are being held “side by side.”
He defended some other cuts he has proposed, including a proposed 20 percent cut in migrant spending and axing 37,000 seats from pre-K programs.
Adams insisted the Department of Education had allocated money for seats that were not being filled. “We were paying for seats, not students.”
“There is no reason to expand pre-K when we don’t have students to put in those seats,” he said.
The Department of education was among the hardest hit agencies under the Nov. 16 revised budget proposal with over $530 million in proposed cuts and $1 billion over two years. The cuts were blasted by United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew at a protest at City Hall Park on November 17.
”Everything is on the table.” Mayor Eric Adams on proposed budget cuts