New York, NY – Below is a letter that Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Daniel Dromm and Vanessa Gibson, Chairs of the Committee on Finance and Subcommittee on Capital Budget, respectively, sent to Mayor de Blasio late Friday on behalf of the City Council and the Council’s Budget Negotiating Team requesting that the Administration identify meaningful savings among city agencies to address the $9 billion budget gap. The cuts should be at least between five and seven percent of the agencies’ budgets, the letter said.
The letter also said that the agency cuts proposed so far by the de Blasio Administration are not sufficient or equitably distributed. As an example, the letter points to the fact that the Department of Youth and Community Development was hit with a proposed cut of 32% of its budget, while the New York Police Department is only facing proposed cuts of less than one percent.
This is the full text of the letter:
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
We are writing on behalf of the entire Council and the Budget Negotiating Team to request that you require every agency to engage in a serious exercise to identify meaningful agency savings. According to the revenue estimate that you just produced pursuant to the Charter requirement, the gap for Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2021 has grown by another $1.6 billion since the Executive Plan, for a total gap of $9 billion. This information combined with the knowledge that federal stimulus money may not arrive before we adopt a budget in June, that the State may impose additional cuts, and that there are significant programs and services that were funded on a one-year basis, means that the City must renew our focus on agency savings. Therefore, we must search agency budgets for more savings to ensure that we have done everything we can to balance the budget without resorting to borrowing that will have significant long-term implications for New York City’s future.
To date, the savings and actions identified as part of the Program to Eliminate the Gap that you have put forward are not equitable and do not represent the values that we all hold dear. They also do not support the conclusion that every agency has engaged in the difficult process of identifying true savings with the same degree of effort. This problem is clearly demonstrated by the comparison between the 32 percent proposed cut at the Department of Youth and Community Development and the less than one percent cut proposed by the New York Police Department. This is not the only example.
To that end, we request that you require each agency that has not already identified significant cuts in the Executive Budget to identify cuts of at least five to seven percent of their budgets. However, no proposed cut should be one that would weaken the social safety net or hurt vulnerable New Yorkers. As the end of the fiscal year is rapidly approaching, the Council looks forward to receiving each agency’s list of proposed cuts by Monday, June 8th.