Today, NYC Council Member Tiffany Cabán gave the following statement as she cast her vote against adopting the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
Comparing this final budget to its preliminary and executive predecessors, it is clear that we as a Council have much to be proud of.
- We prevented the worst cuts to homeless services, sanitation and parks.
- We brought some transparency to the NYPD’s fiscal operations.
- We stopped an increase in headcount for the NYPD and 500 proposed new solitary confinement officers for Rikers Island.
- We included some key new investments, including one I am especially proud to have fought for: funding to extend childcare to our undocumented neighbors, friends, and family.
I’d like to congratulate the Speaker and her team, Chair Brannan and the finance staff, and the Mayor’s office for working together to accomplish these improvements.
I want to tell you why I am casting a no vote today. The people of the 22nd District elected me with a mandate to fight for a dramatic shift of our city’s priorities away from policing, prosecution, and punishment, toward community, compassion, and care.
This budget does not do that:
- It contains big cuts to our public schools, disproportionately affecting schools in low income communities of color, which have long been underfunded and overcrowded. Any decrease in enrollment should be seen as right-sizing the budget, not warranting further cuts.
- I agree with the Comptroller that this budget falls well short of the investments we need in housing, especially at a time when the average New York rent is double the average New York income.
- Lastly, it keeps our current bloated levels of funding for policing and incarceration intact, and fails to increase funding to data-driven, community-based violence prevention programs.
For all these reasons, I cannot in good conscience vote for it.
Without moving away from violent, oppressive systems, we are undermining the very investments I am so glad we managed to include in this budget, and ensuring that their potential positive impacts are nowhere near as substantial as they could and should be.
In the coming years, I will remain prepared to support a budget that reflects my commitment to care, not cages. It is because of that commitment that the people of District 22 sent me here. It is with their needs, and their dreams, in my heart that I vote no.