Mayor Eric Adams blamed the migrant crisis for the announced budget cuts that left the city reeling and its residents grumbling back in November. Budget cuts were heavily anticipated to affect parks and libraries locally.
On Jan. 16 the mayor announced his preliminary budget proposal and residents might be happy to know he restored funds to public services.
Mayor Adams credited the cost of the migrant crisis with the need for budget cuts he declared back in November. The newly announced New York City preliminary budget for fiscal year 2025 totals $109.4 billion.
The mayor’s proposed budget cuts were announced as part of the November financial plan. Part of it included the “Program to Eliminate the Gap,” a reexamining of resources and re-estimation of expenses for the city halfway through the fiscal year.
The November plan announced in November 2023 was for the fiscal year 2024 and as such would have taken effect immediately. At the time Adams declared city agencies and public libraries would see a 5 percent budget cut reliant on the $7 billion budget gap. According to the previously approved budget and the current expenditures on the migrants being way off base, the city saw a gap in the finances.
The city’s projected costs for the asylum-seeker population was $3.9 billion for two fiscal years. However, with the current costs the city anticipates it will spend $12 billion over three fiscal years. Thus it created the gap the mayor scrambled to cover up with the 5 percent budget cuts.
The city reported its 2023 revenue in December, boasting $108.24 billion, giving the municipality a $60.5 million surplus. The actual revenue was $7.85 billion higher than projected in the adopted budget.
After receiving the news of the year’s end surplus Mayor Adams announced that the budget cuts would no longer be in effect as the revenue had made up for the difference.
Gov. Kathy Hohcul recognized that the city was struggling with the cost of the migrant crisis and announced she would, “increase State support of the city’s efforts to $2.4 billion” in the following fiscal year. This increased from the $1.9 billion allocated for fiscal year 2024.
Those funds are part of Gov. Kathy Hochul announced total budget of $233 billion for fiscal year 2025.
Mayor Adams announced 60 percent of the asylum seekers who entered the city through the intake center have left the city’s care.
“The city has helped submit more than 25,000 work authorization, temporary protected status, and asylum applications, moving asylum seekers that much closer to being able to legally work and be self-sufficient,” he wrote in a statement.
Back in November when the new plan was announced city Comptroller Brad Lander released a statement saying, “City Hall should stop suggesting that asylum seekers are the reason for imposing severe cuts when they are only contributing to a portion of these budget gaps, much of which already existed.”
Adams credited the newly implemented 60-day shelter stay mandate with saving the city a significant chunk of money. Unfortunately for Adams, the 60-day shelter stay has been highly criticized since its announcement.
Lander’s statement on the proposed budget cuts, which was written prior to the 60-day shelter stay mandates approval, were quite biting.
“It is contradictory of City Hall to impose 30- and 60-day time limits that eviscerate the right-to-shelter, but assume they have no budgetary impact,” he wrote. “Scapegoating immigrants for those cuts is antiethical to the defining role of New York as a beacon of promise, inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.”
On Monday council members, asylum seekers, and organizers gathered at Metro Baptist Church in Manhattan to speak out against Adam’s latest policy. The threat of putting countless children and adults on the street in the middle of a winter frost has left many upset.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is among city officials bothered by the moving of migrant families, specifically those with children.
“I don’t want to see children taken out of schools that they’re just getting used to,” Dinowitz said. “It’s bad for the kids, it’s bad for education. This policy needs to be more targeted. I’m not even sure I think the 60-day policy is a good thing. It certainly doesn’t make sense to me when you’re dealing with families with children.”
He understood the mayor’s intent but thought that each situation should be addressed separately.
,“It really bothers me,” Dinowitz said of the idea of having to take children new to the country from a place they are just growing accustomed to and proceeding to shuffle them around from home to home and school to school.
During a press conference on Jan. 12 Adams quipped that “in spite of dealing with the 168,000 migrants and asylum seekers that we had to endure since early spring of 2022,” the city is experiencing less crime, higher employment rates, and higher tourist rates.
As far as the state’s concern with parks, Hohcul dedicated $47 billion to plant more than 25 million trees across the entire state by the year 2033.
The Parks Opportunity Program, POP, helps provide thousands of low-income New Yorkers every year with paid opportunities and training programs. The program has been operating for 30 years and Adam’s original proposal would have cost the program its life.
When Adams announced his original budget cuts there was discussion of needing to cut POP, however with the restoration of funds POP has survived .
“We are incredibly grateful for the commitment from this administration to continue on this legacy of providing access to green jobs and job training,” said Sue Donoghue, NYC Parks commissioner.
The library systems budget will be permanently restored under Adams’ proposed changes.
A statement from the city’s library systems in response read, “The Brooklyn, New York, and Queens public libraries are grateful that Mayor Adams, a longtime champion of our mission, spared libraries from additional cuts to our FY24 and FY25 operating budgets. We deeply appreciate the administration’s recognition of the value of libraries and of how much New Yorkers rely on them.”
“I’m happy to announce that we will be able to restore funding and invest new city dollars in our young people and the programs across the city that help them succeed,” the mayor said during a press conference on Jan. 12.
He announced that the city would restore funding for 170 community schools and $80 million for the Summer Rising program. Summer Rising is an academic and enrichment program during the summer for students grades Kindergarten through eighth grade.
During the November financial plan announcement Adams planned to cut funds from the education sector as well.