Bowing to political pressure and a sad fiscal reality that has sparked municipal crises over the past few decades, New York City officials agreed on Monday for an austerity budget that includes drastic cuts in city services and a $ 1 billion shift in resources from the Department. York Police Officer.
New York, like the rest of the country, has been forced to block its economy to limit the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused 22,000 casualties in the city. The arrest helped control the spread of the virus, but it also created a $ 9 billion revenue deficit that will have a major impact on New Yorkers̵
Mayor Bill de Blasio had already cut his estimated spending by $ 7.4 billion earlier this year, but needed to find another $ 1 billion in savings before the July 1 city budget for the next year expired. tax. The grim $ 87 billion budget is almost $ 6 billion less than the city approved last year.
At the same time, another budget priority emerged from the police assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis, while calls to the defense of the Police Department increased in New York. This effort went to include Mr. De Blasio’s negotiating partner, Prime Minister Corey Johnson, who earlier this month accepted activists’ demands to cut $ 1 billion from the department’s operating budget of $ 6 billion. .
The mayor and city council agreed on Monday to reach that billion dollars in cuts, among other things, by canceling the expected hiring of 1,163 police officers.
But just under half of the $ 1 billion in cuts will come from a game of budget budgets: school security officials, who are currently under the auspices of the Police Department, will be transferred to the authority of the Department of Education, according to three board members who are familiar with the plan.
Mr. de Blasio still believes that the city must find $ 1 billion in labor savings or face 22,000 layoffs, unless the federal government obtains aid or the state grants the city’s loan authority, according to Mr. de’s spokesman Blasio, Freddi Goldstein.
The budget is expected to be approved on Tuesday by the entire 51-member city council, although it is expected to garner more than a dozen “no” votes, split among council members who oppose the reduction of police funding at a time when crime is on the rise and council members who think police cuts don’t go far enough.
Councilor Ben Kallos, a Democrat representing the Upper East Side, said he planned not to vote on the budget, in part because he said police cuts were insufficient.
“It’s worse than before,” Kallos said in an interview.
“We are not seeing a significant reduction in the number of heads and the changes that people are literally marching on the streets for,” he said. “I don’t think anyone on the march for Black Lives Matter is doing it to see school security agents moved from the N.Y.P.D. budget to the school budget.”
Councilor Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat, said he will also vote against the budget because he said the changes to the Police Department’s funding were not “significant cuts”. Among other things, he is skeptical that the Police Department will actually make $ 350 million in overtime reduction costs, as claimed by the city.
The redistribution of the Police Department’s resources to other departments achieves political and possibly political ends, but will do little to bridge the budget gap that yawns in the city.
To fill this gap, the city will demand generalized savings from city agencies and cut the services that city residents have relied on, such as eliminating the residential composting program and closing the city’s swimming pools for the summer.
Pickups will be reduced and night service on the Staten Island ferry will be reduced. Fewer police traffic agents will be deployed at intersections and tree pruning and stump removal will be less frequent.
And for the the first time in his tenure, the mayor tapped into the city’s reserves, touching $ 4 billion in savings to help balance the budget, largely from the pension fund, a move that does not affect pensioners’ benefits at short term.
But the budget is expected to restore over $ 100 million in funding for youth programs that had been cut under the mayor’s executive budget, according to a city council member. Ms. Goldstein, the mayor’s spokeswoman, declined to confirm that number.
“The mayor had two goals for this budget: to maintain security and invest in the youth and our hardest-hit communities – all while addressing the toughest tax situation the city has seen in decades,” said Goldstein. “We believe we have presented a plan that accomplishes this mission and we are looking forward to working with the Council to approve a budget that will help this city rebuild stronger.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the state legislature refused to grant New York City the authority to borrow money to pay for operating costs, even though the state granted that authority to the state’s metropolitan transportation authority and if same.
“The New York bond rating has risen in the past 12 months, for God’s sake, it’s not the 70s,” said the mayor Monday, just before Mr. Cuomo invoked the 70s as a logic. why he was reluctant to grant the lending authority in New York City.
Mr. de Blasio did not provide a detailed plan on how to use the borrowed money, said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Democratic majority in the Senate. After talking to Senate Democrats on Monday, Scott M. Stringer, the city’s controller and a candidate for mayor of 2021, agreed.
“The mayor has requested $ 7 billion and now $ 5 billion from the lending authority without giving any data or reasons,” Stringer said in a statement. “Our children don’t owe the mayor a blank check.”
The city’s budget has grown dramatically under Mr. de Blasio – from around $ 73 billion in 2014 to $ 92 billion in 2019.
Budget hawks at the Citizens Budget Commission, a non-partisan civic group, have argued that Mr. de Blasio is ignoring other levers at his disposal that are politically difficult to pull but that prevent future generations from being burdened with the duty to repay long-term debt.
In addition to the possible layoffs, the mayor could cut around 9,000 jobs through the friction of the city’s workforce by around 330,000, whose number of bosses has increased by around 30,000 since Mr. de Blasio took office. He could also negotiate with the job to request more employees to contribute to their health premiums.
“The longer we sit and bow to the altar of federal loans or aid, the less we actually try to solve the problems,” said Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens’ Budget Commission. “All the risk is negative. The worst chance is high. “
Budget experts predict that the economic situation will worsen significantly in fiscal year 2022, in part due to the city’s shrinking reserves. Based on the mayor’s latest budget plan, the independent budget office estimates that the city will face a $ 6 billion deficit next year.
The city also suffered the blows of the loss of state aid and the successful efforts of Mr. Cuomo to move state costs into the city, such as financing the capital of the Metropolitan Transport Authority.