“The Council recognizes that the city’s budget has serious forthcoming gaps from the expiration of federal COVID stimulus funds, economic impacts of the pandemic, and additional spending. This includes expenditures on services in response to an increased number of asylum seekers arriving in the city, but those did not create our budget gaps and are not the only factor contributing to our fiscal reality. This moment requires effectively managing with precision to protect vital services for New Yorkers. The Administration’s approach of reducing budgets of all agencies broadly through additional cuts and a hiring freeze, along with inflicting cuts on our libraries, CUNY, and cultural institutions, is too blunt and not the prudent or sole choice. With clear evidence that city agencies are lagging in their ability to provide New Yorkers with necessary benefits and services at historic levels, the Administration must prioritize real exemptions from cuts to turn around city agency performance issues.
“The Administration’s response in providing services for asylum seekers has relied far too much on expensive emergency contracts with for-profit companies that cost the City billions of dollars. We urge the Administration to shift as many contracts as possible to non-profit organizations with more expertise and commitment to the long-term public interest of the city. It is also essential that the City explores new revenues that can support our budget without impacting working-class New Yorkers, which in some cases will require authorization from Albany for the city to reduce ineffective tax breaks and have revenue options to preserve our fiscal health. Additional aid from all levels of government will be necessary, and the City must be united with stakeholders in advocating for increased support from the state and federal governments. We will closely examine the Mayor’s November Plan for the impact on New Yorkers, and will voice our concerns, and negotiate with the Administration to further address them.”