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New York Mayor Eric Adams releases FY25 Executive Budget and Holds Q-and-A

Mayor Eric Adams: My fellow New Yorkers, New York City has always been defined by its resilience. Over and over again, we have faced challenges and emerged stronger and more innovative. No matter what comes our way, we’re always ready to roll up our sleeves and to do what it takes to build a better future. Our Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget reflects this can-do spirit. It reflects our core values and shows what we can accomplish with strong fiscal management and committed leadership.

When we came into office two years ago, during the height of another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were determined to protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more livable for working-class New Yorkers. This mission continues to guide all our actions. We have made great strides in lowering crime. In 2024, crime is down across the city with month after month decreases and since the start of this administration, homicides and shootings are both down by double digits.

Every day, we are working to make the safest big city in America even safer. We have recovered all of the private sector jobs we lost during the pandemic a year earlier than projected and we created 300,000 new jobs in the past two years alone. Overall, unemployment in our city is down to 4.9 percent and Black unemployment is the lowest it has been since 2019. And I’m proud to report that New York City recently hit another milestone. We are now at an all-time high for total jobs.

Additionally, our administration is taking on major quality-of-life issues by containerizing New York City’s business and residential trash and reducing the amount of time garbage is allowed to sit on the curb. This means our streets can look as good as the people who live here. We have financed the most newly-constructed affordable housing in a single year in our city’s history. We passed the historic Willets Point transformation and our City of Yes plan to update decades-old zoning laws is now before the City Council so that we can start to build the housing New Yorkers need.

We also worked hard to make our voices heard in Albany. And thanks to the governor and state lawmakers, we are one step closer to our moonshot goal of building a half a million new affordable homes for New Yorkers. We gained the power to weed out illegal smoke shops in the five boroughs. New Yorkers are fed up with these illegal storefronts and we will use the full force of the law to shut them down. We also gained the resources to fight retail theft, our capacity to build and repair critical infrastructures like roads, schools, bridges and hospitals has been increased, and we are especially grateful to the governor and lawmakers for extending mayoral accountability of our schools for two more years. This is a significant victory for our students and parents. All these wins are a result of our working closely with our partners in Albany and on behalf of our fellow New Yorkers.

Now we must work to keep our city on a sustainable upward trajectory. This year, we faced major challenges. We had to close a historically large budget gap in the preliminary budget. This was due to the expiration of temporary federal stimulus dollars that had been improperly used to fund long-term programs. We also faced the unexpected costs of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. As soon as we saw the hurdles ahead, we responded swiftly, strategically and with a healthy dose of caution. We made smart choices, trimmed agency and asylum seeker budgets and made conservative revenue forecasts. This, combined with better than expected revenues and a booming economy, resulted in a balanced budget and a stabilization of the city’s fiscal outlook.

What we did not do is just as important as what we did do. We did not resort to tax hikes, major service cuts or layoffs, and I cannot emphasize this enough. The measures we took worked. Now, thanks to our discipline and prudent approach, we are able to invest in the things that matter to New Yorkers in the executive budget like public safety, early childhood education and the needs of working class people.

Our careful fiscal management has allowed us to fund long-term Department of Education programs that were supported by temporary federal stimulus dollars which are set to expire at the end of this year and most are now supported annually with recurring dollars. These critical programs were facing fiscal cliffs, but the tough decisions we made in previous budgets have allowed us to protect them. Our decisions include instituting the Program to Eliminate the Gap, or PEG savings as well as carefully managing hiring and spending.

The global asylum seeker crisis has brought more than 192,000 migrants seeking shelter to our doors since the spring of 2022 and currently, we are still caring for more than 65,000 migrants. We have already spent over $4.3 billion caring for these newest arrivals since the spring of 2022 and we anticipate the cost will total $10 billion over fiscal years ’23 to ’25. While New York City has and always will be a city that welcomes newcomers and thrives thanks to the contribution of many diverse immigrant communities, the federal government must help us fulfill our responsibility to our recently-arrived neighbors.

I want to thank Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie and all our partners in Albany for the state’s direct commitment of over $3 billion to manage this crisis. However, the federal government has only allocated $196 million to our efforts. Instead of waiting for additional help to arrive, we took control and implemented a plan in November that includes trimming asylum seeker costs. As promised, we have now reduced these costs by a total of $2.3 billion between the preliminary and executive budgets.

In the executive budget, we reduced asylum seeker costs by $586 million over fiscal years ’24 and ’25 primarily by decreasing the population under our care and reducing the daily household costs. This is in addition to the $1.7 billion savings we achieved in the preliminary budget over the same two years. These reductions meet the goal of reducing asylum seeker spending by approximately 30 percent over the two years. We implemented these measures in real time, even as we never stop assisting newcomers, and our policies have made a difference. We have helped over 65 percent of those entering our city’s intake centers take the next step forward making their American dream a reality. This is a major accomplishment and it demonstrates that compassionate and careful fiscal management can and must go together.

Because we stabilized the city’s financial outlook, we can propose $514 million in crucial educational programs and many are now baselined so that they are sustainable, funded year after year. Let me say that again. We are protecting over half a billion dollars in educational programs that are crucial to the health and development of our children, most with long-term funding that will not sunset or expire. Thanks to our careful planning, we can continue to offer ongoing support for our students’ mental health and well-being by keeping nearly 500 mental health professionals in our schools.

Arts programming, which is vital to developing young minds, will still be available in the next school year. Around the country, we’re hearing stories of school districts that are laying off teachers because of expiring stimulus funds. Not here in New York City. We will continue dyslexia and literacy assessment for our students and maintain our popular bilingual programs that serve our diverse student population. All of this and much more is possible because we ignored the critics and made hard choices when we had to. Moving forward, our goal is to protect the remaining critical educational programs that are funded by temporary stimulus dollars.

Because we achieved asylum seeker savings in this plan and had a better-than-expected economy, we were able to restore agency savings that support our core mission: keeping New Yorkers safe, creating more economic opportunity, and making the city more livable. We can now enhance public safety and double down on our efforts to continue to bring down crime by adding two more police classes this year and putting 1,200 more police officers on the streets as we invest in two additional NYPD classes in July and October. Now, all Police Academy classes will be fully funded in 2024. This will add 2,400 new police officers to our streets within the coming year and put us on the path to having a total of 35,000 uniformed officers protecting New Yorkers in the coming years. We’re also investing in our cultural institutions, which bring beauty, education, and joy to all New Yorkers.

Zooming out, we see that although our national and city economies remain strong, we must lean toward caution. While our nation’s economic growth is expected to remain at 2.5 percent in 2024, we expect it to slow to 1.4 percent in 2025. The pace of our national job market is expected to slow as well. Corporate profits will be stronger than previously anticipated while high prices persist as inflation has grown more than expected. Our city’s economic recovery continues to be strong and we regained the nearly 1 million jobs we lost during the pandemic a year earlier than predicted. We are at a record high of over 4.72 million private and public sector jobs and we have created over 300,000 jobs during this administration, which is more than 46 states over the same period. Like I said earlier, we have more jobs today than ever before in our city’s history.

New York City remains the place to play, visit, and do business. Wall Street remains profitable, and tourism is expected to surpass pre-pandemic records by 2025. However, there is reason to be cautious, as housing activity has been weak due to a rise in interest rates and the commercial office vacancy rate is expected to peak this year, but will decline slowly through the financial plan.

What does this mean for the city and our fiscal outlook? Our administration’s actions and policies continue to boost job growth to record levels and while the nation avoided a downturn, which led to stronger tax revenue forecasts that helped us meet our challenges, tax revenue growth in the coming years is expected to slow. This is due to weakness in the commercial real estate market and the decreasing pace of job growth. The takeaway is clear: we cannot rely on revenue growth alone to meet challenges. So, as we have done since day one of this administration, we will remain focused on strong fiscal management. We will carefully monitor spending, make conservative revenue forecasts, and save taxpayer dollars.

The executive budget is the product of this prudent and strategic fiscal approach. The Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget is $111.6 billion. We kept fiscal years ’24 and ’25 balanced by applying revenue that exceeded our previous forecast and by carefully reducing asylum seeker spending. Out-year gaps are within historic norms at $5.5 billion in ’26, $5.5 billion in ‘027, and $5.7 billion in 2028. Tax revenue was revised upward by $2.3 billion over fiscal years ’24 and ’25 due to stronger than anticipated economic performance during the previous and this calendar year.

Because of better than anticipated revenue growth and the record level of savings we achieved over the last two financial plans, we were able to cancel the previously announced executive budget agency PEGs. As promised, we reduced city funding migrant spending in fiscal years ’24 and ’25 by 30 percent over the preliminary and executive budgets. The $586 million we just trimmed brings total migrant cost savings to $2.3 billion over just two years. We also achieved $41 million in agency expense savings, which were driven by less than anticipated spending on programs and services. This has no impact on service delivery.

Total savings over the two fiscal years is $7.2 billion and it’s worth repeating that we did all this without making major cuts to services, without laying off a single employee, without raising taxes by a single cent. Because we have remained focused on strong fiscal management, we did not have to dip into our fiscal year ’25 reserves, which remain at a near-record level of $8.2 billion, helping us prepare to mitigate the impact of an unforeseeable downturn.

As we look to tomorrow, addressing climate change is crucial. New York City is the first big city in America to implement climate budgeting. We will join a select group of international cities to take a leadership role by permanently incorporating this novel approach into our budget decision-making process. This is a game changer. We will evaluate how every dollar we spend impacts our ability to achieve our city’s ambitious climate goals. This will lead to reduced emissions, improved air quality and environmental justice for our communities. Climate budgeting is innovative and necessary and it keeps us on track when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of New Yorkers and the environment.

As I have said time and time again, keeping New Yorkers safe, creating more economic opportunities, and making our city more livable for working-class people have been key priorities for our administration. Although restoring funding for Police Academy classes enhances public safety, that does not tackle the source of violence. As a former police officer, I know that to prevent gun violence before it occurs, we need wraparound services that address the needs of at-risk youth and communities. We need to make upstream investments in our young people before they fall into the river of violence. That is why we are connecting New Yorkers at-risk of gun violence with career readiness and green job programs, expanding our Cure Violence coverage areas, offering additional mental health services, and fostering collaboration between communities, law enforcement agencies, and city services to reduce gun violence to selected precincts. These investments will affect individual lives, and they are part of the efforts we are making to strengthen our communities.

Safe, affordable child care and free early childhood education are vital to our children’s future prospects and to raising a family in our city. They also give stay-at-home parents and caregivers a chance to enter the workforce if they want. That is why this administration cut the cost of subsidized child care from $55 per week to just $4.80 per week, less than one-tenth the cost. And to make sure that every child in this city has the opportunity to participate, we are increasing the availability of in-school pre-K seats and services for special needs children that comply with their individualized educational programs with a $25 million investment. We are also amplifying awareness of early childhood education opportunities. We are increasing funding for outreach so that every parent is aware of this essential learning experience.

Our goal is to ensure that parents know of all the vacant pre-K and 3K seats in their neighborhood so that every child who wants a seat will have access to one. Let me repeat that again. Every child who wants a seat will have access to one. One more time, so that it is quoted accurately. Every child who wants a seat will have access to one.

In addition to connecting our children to pre-K and 3K, we are helping the most vulnerable New Yorkers quickly move into the housing they need with baselined funding for CityFHEPS vouchers. And as we announced earlier, we will wipe out $2 billion in medical debt for qualified low-income and severely debt-burdened New Yorkers. We know medical debt is the single greatest because of personal bankruptcy in this country and disproportionately impacts our Black and Latino communities. Our program is the largest municipal medical debt program of its kind in the country. This is a critical tool, as are the benefits that New Yorkers are eligible for. That is why we are investing $4.6 million in the New York City Benefits Access Initiative. This program will help our city’s residents learn about and have easier access to available city benefits programs. We are also addressing other types of economic inequity that have affected our Black and brown communities for far too long. We are supporting minority and women-owned businesses and community hiring, creating small businesses improvement districts in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and offering loans to new businesses owned by people of color, ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to economic opportunities is critical to ensuring the prosperity of our entire city.

Our Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget speaks volumes about our core priorities: public safety, a stronger economy, and a more livable city for working-class people. These have been clear from day one of our administration. In this budget, we have combined careful fiscal management with compassion to build on our gains in all three areas. We have successfully stabilized our city’s financial outlook while maintaining key education programs, investing in more police officers, helping asylum seekers take the next steps in their journeys, and delivering for working-class people. As New York City moves toward the future, our core values will continue to guide us as we continue to build a safer, more equitable, and more prosperous city for all New Yorkers. Thank you.


Mayor Eric Adams: Good to see you all. As we do a quick overview of fiscal ’25 executive budget, we’ve been clear from the beginning, you saw this so much you probably see it in your sleep: protect public safety, rebuild our economy and make our city more livable for working people in the city, and that’s the focus. Those were the priorities as we went through our budget. The Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget is balanced at $111.6 billion, ’24 and ’25 remain balance. Budget totals $114.5 billion for fiscal year ’24 and fiscal year ’25 is $111.6 billion. Out year gaps are $5.5 billion in fiscal year ’26, the same in ’27, and $5.7 [billion] in year 28.

Our mission is clear: continue to balance the budget by law. ’24 and ’25 maintain many critical DOE programs that were funded by expiring stimulus funds, and this is something that we really need to focus on. The real challenge we had going coming into office in 2022 was sunsetting programs. We had to start early to say that these programs are going to sunset in ’24 completely and also we had to look at the realization that we had just about all of our union contracts were outstanding, some of them as far back as 13 years such as the of the ferry boat operators. And to add to that out of nowhere, we got the asylum seekers 191,000, and so that created a real crisis. If we didn’t start early with our PEGs, we would have a challenging time. We had a $7.2 billion in the budgets, we saved $7.2 billion in our using our PEGs which really helped us through.

So we just want to give you an overview, but you could read through all of this. Jacques, you gave them all books, right? Gave it to them early. So you’re going to read through, you probably read through much of it already. So why don’t you just, why don’t you just kick to questions? How’s that, Katie? Yes, let’s start with Katie.

Question: I want to ask, I know that you were praising the restoration of some of the cultural funds, but I know there’s been a lot of reporting around this, it doesn’t restore the $58 million or more than $58 million to the city’s three library systems which means most libraries around the city are now open five days a week. That’s worse than the baseline of six days a week that was established in 2015. But wasn’t this funding restored? Then I have an additional question about some of the funding decrease from the Department for the Aging.

Mayor Adams: One, we’re not cutting libraries in this budget and two, which we have stated over and over again, we did not tell libraries to close on Sundays. Like we did with many of our agencies, we gave them what the PEGs amount, they did an analysis of what services they wanted to deliver to New Yorkers and they had the options of finding where they wanted to find those savings. And I keep saying over and over again, all of us had to dig deeper. Some of our libraries have substantial endowments. One of them, they have a billion dollar endowment. This is the time to say as we help New Yorkers get through this unprecedented humanitarian crisis, we all should be stepping up in any way that’s possible. But we’re clear, no cuts in this budget. Everyone had to reach a PEG and those who had to reach the PEG, they came up with the ways how they wanted to do so.

Question: I asked about the restoration because there are $15.3 billion was not restored and I know you said this is the PEG they were given, that’s what they decided to do. I know a lot of [inaudible] endowments, there’s restrictions on how the money can be spent because some stuff is allocated for certain things. The three library systems, Brooklyn, Queens and New York say that the cuts, that they were not restored, not only do they not have seven day a week library service, they only do five day week library service.

So I guess what’s your message? That’s been an issue that really resonated with New Yorkers. They’ve been very critical of you, even Ms. Rachel, famous among toddlers, has been critical of the cuts or at least not the restoration of cuts. So what’s your message if you’re going to push it back on the libraries knowing that they count on a lot of city funding to keep their employees at the libraries and to keep them even open? What’s your message if you’re just going to say it’s up to the libraries?

Mayor Adams: My message is it’s my role as the mayor for people to criticize. I have to navigate us through crises. Not one crisis we navigated through we neither through, we navigated through Covid and we navigated through migrants and asylum seekers. There’s not one savings we found that we wanted to do. We had to navigate us through and I think retrospectively people will see how we did a good job in doing so.

Question: My second question was with the Department for the Aging, there’s significant cuts to that agency, a lot of it with state funding. Do you have an explanation as to some of those cuts?

Mayor Adams: I’m sorry?

Question: On the Department for the Aging senior services, there were significant cuts I just saw in the executive budget. Some of it came from state money but do you have details on where those cuts were from and the reason for those cuts?

Mayor Adams: What we want to focus on Department of Aging is to look at the at-home deliveries. We sat down and spoke with the commissioner, Cortés-Vázquez, and say where could we minimize the pain and cuts? And the Department of Aging and even in our town halls we heard directly from Department of Aging, all this is part of the negotiation process that we sit down with the City Council on where we can find and how we can continue to move and shifting of money. Do you want to add anything on that, Jacques?

Jacques Jiha, Director, Office of Management and Budget: There’s going to be a technical briefing after and we could go over the detail as, like you said, a lot of it’s coming from state. Okay, so we’ll discuss which exactly what’s going on.

Mayor Adams: What’s with that article? Come on. Go ahead.

Question: Which one?

Mayor Adams: Right.

Question: So two of the issues you talked about that have been a part of your agenda. You’re saying it’s combating crime and making New Yorkers feel safe in the city has been mental health programs and combating recidivism. So what here in the budget have you invested in, what programs are you seeing in here that will help combat those two things? Rampant recidivism and the mental health issue that you’ve been talking about that has been an issue driving random acts of violence. And also a reason why we we were told that the CCRB chair, Arva Rice, was pushed out was because she was not closing up CCRB cases


Mayor Adams: …Finish the question but I want to correct you, no one was pushed out and we’re here to talk about the $111 billion budget that we are passing. And if you have a question on that we will answer.

Question: I do, cause that was the reason we were told that she was pushed out but she had to ask for $15 million which she said that would help alleviate the backlog in those things because of all the strings that they’ve had, the CCRB has gone through.

Mayor Adams: Okay.

Question: I saw that in the budget there is funding for CityFHEPS, the voucher rental program. I wanted to know to that baseline, does that include some of the changes that the City Council made to CityFHEPS voucher program? Expanding it to other people? And I also want to know, this is probably a question for Jacques, why your revenue projections are different from what the council has. They’re much lower. You have I think a little more than $600 million for FY 24, they have over $1 billion and then in FY 25 you have just a little bit less than they do. Can you tell us why that’s such a significant change?

Jiha: Let’s start with the revenue forecast. Based on where we are in the fiscal year and how much money we see incoming, we don’t believe we could get to the council forecast for fiscal year ’24. Again, as you know, we tend to be extremely cautious in our approach in term of forecast. As I say to folks all the time, we are making long-term decisions about spending based on an economy that fluctuates up and down. Okay, so therefore we have to be very cautious in term of our forecasts. But again for fiscal year ’24, I can’t get to their numbers based on where we are because we have about like one and a half months left in a year So it’s a question best for them to answer.

Question: And then on the CityFHEPS, that baselined funding, is that going towards any of the changes that the City Council had made to the program?

Jiha: This is the underlying program. This is the underlying program of what they have. We are adding some significant amount of money in this program. It’s about $300 million more than we spent last year. It’s about $800 million dollars. Okay? That is a baselined program. For the rest, it’s in the court system, so we have to let the court system deal with the issues that are involved.

Question: Hey Mr. Mayor, how are you doing?

Mayor Adams: Good, how are you doing?

Question: Good. I had two questions for you and the budget director. Could you clarify, you mentioned twice in your speech that everyone that wants a early childhood education seat can have one. Do you mean that you are restoring the planned expansion that was in, I think it was taken out of a PEG, is that coming back or are you getting at this another way? And I was also curious if you could talk about the borough-based jails. It looks like there’s around $4-5 billion more in the capital budget, could you talk about like any changes to that and how you’re going to go about it?

Mayor Adams: First the childcare, the biggest issue we saw when we got into office is that it became almost a bumper sticker slogan of how many seats we had. When we dug into it, we were celebrating seats and not children in seats. It’s unimaginable, 23,000 vacant seats that taxpayers are paying for and children are not in those seats. And we’re seeing that in areas where community, where they need the seats, the outreach wasn’t there. So we partnering with the City Council, about $5 million where we’re going to go in and sell the product. That is our goal, selling the product and allowing us to fill those seats.

Every child, I said it three times, every child that wants a seat will have access to a seat. Every child that wants a seat will have access to a seat, but we have to make sure we’re right-sizing. It was not right-sized We were just celebrating the number of seats.

On borough-based jail, the price tag, it has gone up in an unbelievable manner. The Manhattan initiative, that Manhattan borough-based jail, the builder pulled out. We have to find a builder. We lost two years because of Covid, the cost has increased substantially That’s why we were fighting to get the debt ceiling raised and so the additional dollar amount is really the adjustment on the cost of building a borough-based jail.

Question: And just a quick follow up. Is there any update on how you and the council are working to house the population that really won’t fit into the size of these jails?

Mayor Adams: We had a meeting two weeks ago with the speaker and her team to do an analysis because all of us, we have the same mission of closing Rikers Island. But we thought it was imperative to bring our team in with her team to show that, number one, the four jails would not fill the current population. So we have to come up with a plan on how are we going to deal with that new population, how do we get the jails built, the timetable that was set and we’re going to continue to coordinate with them and the Lippman Commission so that we can understand the realities of the vision of closing Rikers Island.

Question: Thank you. Just to clarify something on Katie’s question about the libraries, maybe your budget director can also help out just so I understand it correctly. There was a November PEG [that] cut $22 million. That’s not getting reversed as part of the executive, right? And then there was I believe another reduction of $36 million in the January plan. That’s not getting reversed either?

Jiha: There was no cut in the January plan, we’re talking about last November.

Question: Last November…

Jiha: Last year, there was one last year, and there was one in November. There was none in the general plan, okay, and there’s none in this plan.

Question: No reduction as compared to November’s $58.3 million…

Jiha: About, yes.

Question: So what I’m wondering, with that being the case, the new NYPD classes cost, what was it, $62 million? And then Mr. Mayor, if you can chime in a little bit on how your decision-making went there since we’re talking about the same dollar figure. Why is it more important to put that money into NYPD hires as opposed to putting some of it into library funding given that the libraries say that they’re going to have to go down to five days because of those cuts?

Mayor Adams: Tough choices. The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety, people that go to libraries, I want them to get there safely. We have a real recidivism problem where a small number of people are creating a high level of violence in our city. We have a quality of life issue that we continue to fight to maintain. We saw instantly when we surge 1,000 officers in our subway system, we saw that January bump decrease, February and March, the numbers went down. I’m not going to do anything in this city that’s going to impact on public safety, and we have to make these tough decisions.

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I’m good. I actually had a technical question about the asylum seeker cost. So the $2.4 billion that you’re getting from the state, is that the reason why it’s being reduced or are you attributing that to the PEG as well?

Mayor Adams: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.

Question: The $2.4 billion that you’re getting from Albany, is that why the reductions are happening for that or are you attributing that to the PEGs?

Mayor Adams: No, the goal was to decrease the cost of the migrants and asylum seekers by 30 percent. That was the goal. We are successfully doing that, bringing down the number and amount that’s across the board. And it’s just cuts across the board, we want to lower the per diem cost, how much it costs in per day from housing to food to security, all of those items. And we’re bringing down the population. So that was a combination. That’s why our 30-day program was crucial to have people go on with their journey and so when we were facing this almost a $7 billion budget gap, we knew we had to balance the budget required by law, we knew we had to do it by bringing down that cost. You add that with the $7 billion we saved by finding savings within our agencies, that allowed us to get what we are right now.

Question: Are you satisfied with the amount that you got from the state for asylum seeker[s]?

Mayor Adams: The amount that we get that we received? Yes, we have some huge Ws. We always want more. We believe that the federal government right now think they contribute $138 million something?

Jiha: 196 right now.

Mayor Adams: $196 million of a $4 billion price tag but the state has stepped up and we really thank the governor, the speaker and the majority leader for doing so.

Question: Two questions. One, on the per diem rate for the asylum seekers, it seems like you have effectively lowered the daily rate per household by several dollars. Could you walk us through how that actually happened? Did you renegotiate hotel contracts, was it food spending?

And then second question, I think I think Kelly asked about the difference between the administration’s tax revenue estimates and the council’s, but what about the significant difference between the administration’s estimates of revenue now and what you were estimating last Fall? There’s such a such a huge jump in what you’re actually getting, what accounts for that?

Mayor Adams: So let me deal with the first part of your question. The asylum, actually I’m going to deal with the asylum part. The difference in jumps, we have to be extremely conservative. We can’t get it wrong, we say this over and over again, and we were faced with several unknowns.

It was expected to have over 100,000 people that were going to be in our care. The numbers, actually we got 181,000, so if we didn’t put in place these initiatives to bring down that population, we would have been in trouble. And we saw we were not getting help from the federal government. So Camille and their team put in place, Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom put in place with how do we decrease our population. Then when you have in emergencies, like I use the analogy, if you get a burst pipe in your basement at 3 a.m. in the morning, that plumber that’s going to come there, he’s going to charge you an emergency 3 a.m. in the morning rate.

We were building a shelter system while getting, in some weeks, 4,000 people a week, and we had to build that system. And many of those vendors they treated us just like that. This is an emergency, you are asking us to empty our hotels, you’re asking us to come up with food overnight, you’re asking us to put a security detail in place. Now we’re at the point where we’re going back and we’re renegotiating those contracts. We’re looking at everything from security contracts to food contracts to hotel stays. We’re looking at everything to cleaning and saying we want to come back to the table and get these rates down and our team has successfully looked at every aspect of service delivery and finding a cheaper way to do so.

Question: So you actually have renegotiated some contracts to lower rates or that’s what you anticipate doing?

Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to the Mayor: Yes, we have and when we continue to do that .So starting with the hotels, some of them we have the opportunity to go back to the hotels before the leases actually expire. So we’re doing that. We have been looking through, combing through all of the service models for all of our locations we’ll continue to do that work going forward.

Jiha: Regarding the forecast, as you remember last year everyone was calling for a recession because of Federal Reserve raising interest rates 11 consecutive times last year. So at the time our forecast, we anticipated a recession. So there was no recession because there was no recession, okay? We have better than anticipated tax revenues. But let’s be careful here because this is a point that is very important. Our tax revenues from year to year has not increased significantly. It’s a 0.3 percent. We’re forecasting fiscal year ’24 is going to end over fiscal year ’23. What saved the day, was because of our conservative forecast. Our tax revenues are better than we anticipated, but not because you have a significant growth in terms of growth in tax revenues.

Mayor Adams: The key issues that saved the day for us, the reason we’re having this conversation right now, being able to restore many areas and not having to do a third PEG. We started out in 2022 saying there’s uncertainties that lies ahead, we have to find efficiencies in our agencies. We said we don’t want any layoffs, no tax increases on working-class New Yorkers and we were able to decrease the population of our asylum seekers, bring down the cost.

This is fiscal management that allowed us to get through two real crises in the city. And what Jacques and his team over [at] OMB in combination with Camille and her team, what they have done allowed us to get to where we are right now. And we took a lot of heat because we were making these right decisions. But those who are professionals looked at what we’ve done and said they are making these tough choices.

Question: On the pre-K question, some advocates feel that there have been earlier cuts to the program. So they wonder if your promise of every child being able to get a seat, will the city actually be able to fulfill that and fulfill that in a way where a child doesn’t have to travel a long way to get a Pre-k seat, for example.

My second question is on the Citizens Budget Commission, which is a pretty hawkish budget agency, they said your projections were unusually conservative, so I’m wondering if you could speak to that. Why were the cuts so conservative that even a hawkish budget group said that maybe you were being too cautious? And I’m wondering on Ms. Rice, could you just expand in the interest of not waiting till Tuesday on what you mean when you said she was not pushed out?

Mayor Adams: The first two projections, we cannot emphasize enough. What we saw, Jacques and his team saw of the uncertainties that were in front of us. And we traditionally, as long as I can remember, OMB’s, they’re always conservative in the numbers because of the unexpected realities. A lot of people see how much you have and they respond but why don’t you just spend, spend, spend?

If we would have followed that mindset, no one saw the uncertainties of 191,000 people coming into our city while we have record levels in our emergency funds because we knew we had to be fiscally prudent. And other organizations and other entities, they can make an error We cannot emphasize enough, we cannot make an error and that is what we are faced with. I would rather be here saying we can give back than being here saying we’re going to take away. That’s what I would rather be here doing. And we’re here because we make those smart decisions in the beginning of finding savings, bringing down the cost of asylum seekers.

We’re here to say we’re giving back, and Fabien, you owe me a dollar because I told you even if I say it three times that everyone that has asked for a seat will get a seat, they are still going to ask the question, so I want my dollar back. Everyone that wants to see will have access to a seat. I said that three times.

Question: I asked would a child have to…

Mayor Adams: Everyone who wants a seat will have access to a seat, and we’re not going to put someone on the E train and send them all the way out to South Jamaica, Queens if they live in Manhattan. We’re going to be accommodating as we always have been to make sure that these children are getting that early childhood education. So everyone that wants a seat will have access to a seat, but we got to get it right. I can’t have 23,000 vacant seats. That makes no sense, that’s wrong for taxpayers’ dollars, and that is not fiscally prudent. 23,000 vacant seats, that’s not problematic to folks? That’s problematic to me. I’m not going to run around the city and say hey, I have an early childhood program just because it’s a good soundbite. No, I need children in seats, and we’re spending $5 million to educate parents on why it’s important.

Question: And on Ms. Rice?

Mayor Adams: You didn’t hear? No, I didn’t the question was asked inappropriately, and I told her that’s not what we’re here for. We’re talking about $111 billion budget.

Question: Hi Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: I’m good, thanks. One more on pre-K early childhood education. You emphasized today quite adamantly that every child that wants a pre-K seat will have access to one. I understand city officials committed $92 million I believe to expand pre-K next fiscal year, but funding wasn’t guaranteed beyond that in the ongoing fiscal year, so has that changed? Can you make that same promise about every child having a seat in the coming years? And then secondly, what does the funding breakdown look like between city and state dollars in terms the same public school programs that were funded with fiscal dollars?

Mayor Adams: Every child that wants a seat will have access to a seat. Jacques, you want to do a breakdown?

Jiha: In the out years, as you can imagine, we have not only the migrant crisis we have to manage, we had about $1.5 billion of fiscal stimulus hole that we have to backfill. We don’t have resources to do all of it all at once. It’s a process. We are working to find, to identify resources wherever we find them so we could basically make sure that these programs are saved and as we go through the process, if we find additional resources, we will baseline resources for the 3K in the out years. But again, it’s a challenge, it’s $1.5 billion, remember that, that we have to find resources to backfill without a new revenue stream So it’s a process. As we identify resources, we will make commitments, but our commitment is to make sure that these programs are saved.

Mayor Adams: We had, the total was $1.5 billion in these stimulus cliffs?

Jiha: Yes.

Mayor Adams: $1.5 billion, how do you put in $1.5 billion of temporary dollars into permanent programs? We should not be asking that question. We had to look at these programs, Summer Rising, pre-K, all of these programs. We had to go and say, okay, how do we fund this stuff? This was a herculean task and we were smart enough to start out early to fill this. That $92 million was part of the cliff that we have to put in?

Jiha: Yes.

Mayor Adams: These are real tough decisions to make and there’s no joy in making them, but we had to make them. And experts looked at them and if you look at what experts are saying, this administration made those tough choices and that’s why we sit here today because we’re making these tough choices. We did the 30-day program for single adults. That is one of the most significant reasons we brought down the cost of migrants and asylum seekers and we were brutally criticized for it, but people have gone on with their lives, over 65 percent are self-sustaining and going to their final destination. That’s what we had to do, we had to make these tough decisions and we did and that’s why we’re sitting here today.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor, just wondering if there’s any money in the budget for any new public safety initiatives? I know you guys were talking about like the subway gun detectors or anything like that, is there any money set aside for that? And then just wondering about the exact number you guys want to spend on migrants in 2025? I know some people in the past have talked about in the past about how all that money should be coming from the state so just wondering what your feelings are on spending this?

Mayor Adams: We’re always looking for manufacturers to give us pilot projects. So we’re always looking for free ways to do it. But innovation is going to be part of our public safety apparatus. We got some new stuff we’re going to roll out and as we roll it out, we’ll make an announcement. That’s the goal.

Jiha: Yes, the asylum seeker for ’25 is about $4.7 billion we’re forecasting right now. Again, we are very thankful for what the governor has provided us and the state has provided us and we’ll continue to work with the state in coming years to see how we’re going to keep this funded. This is a very expensive program for us.

Question: Do you feel like it’s up to the city, though, to have to pay for this? I mean at the end, I know we want the federal government to pay for it but should the state be shouldering more than half?

Mayor Adams: We would always like more but I said it before and I cannot say it enough how much I appreciate the governor and the majority leader and the speaker. The things they gave us around cannabis enforcement, around raising our debt capacity, housing. The governor has just been a partner, from public safety, every time I reach out to her, she really dug in to making sure. She knew what we were going through, and this is what the federal government should be doing. You cannot always give what an individual wants in a particular area but there’s other places you can do it, and that’s what the governor did.

The governor said we may not be able to give you everything you want in this area, but here’s some other ways we can we could help you. We could help you with the mayoral accountability, we could help you make it easy for you to build housing, we could help you with getting cannabis off. That is what it’s about and that’s what it helped that we need.

So Jacques is going to be given a technical briefing later. It may be the most challenging thing to understand, but I have to bounce. I got a full day.

Question: [Inaudible.]

Mayor Adams: I have a full day. I have a lot to do. And Jacques is going to spend a whole lot of time with you. He says there’s nothing he enjoys more than on budget day that he’s able to just share the company of you, Katie and Chris. It’s just a warm feeling to just be in a room with all of you, and so he will enjoy this so much.

April 24, 2024 New York City Hall

Source: Midtown Tribune news – NYC.gov

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