Albany, NY – Today, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne E. Adams delivered testimony at the New York State Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the Executive Budget for State Fiscal Year 2025. Speaker Adams’ testimony focuses on state support for affordable housing, social services, NYCHA, Pre-K and 3-K early childhood programs, education, physical and mental healthcare, and local control over tax expenditures.
The Speaker’s complete submitted testimony is available here.
Below are the Speaker’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good afternoon, Chair Krueger, Chair Weinstein, Ranking Minority Members O’Mara and Ra, and all members of the Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means Committees, and Assembly Cities Committee.
I’m New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to discuss the Governor’s Executive Budget for State Fiscal Year 2025 and its potential impact on New York City. I would also like to thank Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie.
I have submitted full written testimony with a more complete set of priorities. In my oral testimony, I will touch upon a select few.
Our governments share the goal to improve the lives of New Yorkers. One way we must do this is by building more housing, especially homes that are affordable to a range of New Yorkers. Housing is key to the safety and stability of our city, and confronting our housing crisis is one of the top priorities we must address together.
The Governor’s Executive Budget includes several welcome and important policies intended to increase housing production in our city and around the state, including legislation to eliminate the required floor-to-area ratio that has restricted housing development in key parts of New York City. Legislation to enable the conversion of commercial buildings to housing, accompanied by financial incentives that facilitate these conversions for the creation of affordable housing is also critical.
It is vital that state funding and a new financial incentive program for affordable housing production throughout our city are put into place this session to remove the barriers to housing development, in conjunction with tenant protections, as part of our efforts to confront the housing crisis.
We appreciate the governor’s continued inclusion of funding for supportive housing in her budget and encourage deeper investments in collaborative city-state efforts to develop even more. It is one of the most effective solutions to successfully tackle issues of mental health and re-entry from the justice system.
At the same time, we cannot ignore the continued rent arrears facing our public housing system since the beginning of the pandemic that destabilized families. Last year’s budget offered significant help through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and additional support will be needed this year to help NYCHA reduce the outstanding balance of unpaid rent from over 70,000 households.
Homelessness remains at high levels. State funding to cover the cost of the rate increase of StateFHEPS rental vouchers is essential to avoid placing an additional $198.8 million unfunded mandate on the city.
Additional programs to combat homelessness, such as the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) and Rental Supplement Program (RSP), should be adequately funded by the State. HAVP requires at least $250 million to provide aid to those most at-risk of becoming homeless and already unhoused. RSP would provide New York City with the ability to provide housing vouchers for underserved residents, regardless of immigration status, helping those perpetually stuck in the shelter system without access to other pathways to stable permanent housing.
The City appreciates the support in the Governor’s budget for our efforts to provide shelter and support services to people seeking asylum who have arrived in our city, and urges that those funds remain in the adopted budget.
As a city with one of the highest costs of living, food insecurity remains a major issue.
In Fiscal Year 2023, one million New Yorkers relied on SNAP benefits. But because benefit levels are not adjusted for cost of living, New Yorkers are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts across the nation.
There was some reprieve for New Yorkers during the pandemic when SNAP benefit recipients were provided the maximum benefit, and we urge the State to continue with the higher benefit level to provide adequate nutrition for New Yorkers.
Education for young people at all levels is one of the best investments we can and should make.
While the Governor’s proposed budget continues fiscal support for New York City’s funding for Universal Pre-K that we appreciate, we urge the State to consider increasing its commitment towards early childhood education to protect our city’s 3-K program that is facing challenges from the expiration of federal stimulus funds.
Our school system also needs greater support for students in temporary housing after recently enrolling over 20,000 more students, adding to the over 100,000 such students already in our schools. We also urge that the School Foundation Aid Formula reflect the prior year’s inflation rate of approximately 4 percent rather than the 10-year average of 2.4 percent, which does not reflect the needs of our schools.
Supporting CUNY as an engine of opportunity that educates New Yorkers from all backgrounds will also require state funding for increased personnel costs once the current round of collective bargaining is settled. Without this help, CUNY would be forced to make cuts in other critical operating expenses, which will come at the expense of our students’ education.
To protect New York City from cost-shifting that has been overly relied upon to balance state budgets, we urge you to reverse the proposed extension of the distressed hospital fund sales tax intercept that would take an additional $150 million from the city, so we can adequately support our public hospitals.
New York City must also be granted greater local control over our tax expenditures as a necessary tool to safeguard the health of our own budget. Albany is a critical partner in this process, but the City needs the authority and input on the tax programs that significantly affect us to ensure our resources are used wisely.
This will require the State to not authorize a City tax credit without a home rule request, a provision giving the City local authority to determine tax credits and authorization to obtain data needed to evaluate tax breaks. We support state bills to give IBO access to tax data and to alter or repeal real property tax exemptions for private institutions of higher education. All of this would allow the City greater local control and ability to conduct oversight.
At the center of our considerations are the working families and New Yorkers who comprise the backbone of our city and state. We look forward to working with you, our partners in the State Legislature, to enact a budget that equitably supports our city and state.
Thank you for your consideration and time.”