Mayor Eric Adams proposes increased police and prison spending in nearly $100 billion budget

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday unveiled a proposed $99.7 billion budget for the next fiscal year – tapping into higher-than-expected tax revenues to make new commitments on spending in everything from youth programs to park improvements, even as economic uncertainties loom.

He will face a city council demanding more spending on social services – with Speaker Adrienne Adams saying “the stakes are high for our communities and for all New Yorkers”.

Pledging $1.2 billion more than its preliminary budget released in February, Adams is proposing more than 500 additional corrections officers and a dedicated gun crime unit for the medical examiner’s office to speed up analysis DNA, among other law enforcement investments.

He allocated funding for 1,400 shelter beds for homeless New Yorkers who need additional services, and also pledged $5 billion in new capital spending for affordable housing over three years, following a election promise to double previous spending.

Boasting more than $2 billion in higher-than-expected tax revenue, Adams’ executive budget commits more than three-quarters to new spending — while earmarking just a quarter to pay for new union contracts for workers in the labor force. city ​​or bail out public coffers against the next economic crisis. slow-down.

“This budget puts people, especially those who have often been left behind, front and center,” Adams said at the Kings Theater, where he combined his release of the budget with a celebration of his first 100 days in office, at the venue for an inauguration ceremony. which had been canceled during a COVID surge. “Success will be measured by what we accomplish – not by what we spend.”

In total, the budget proposes $182 million in new funding for the police department, which would bring the total for fiscal year 2023 to $5.6 billion. Most of the additional funding is tied to increases in detectives, the mayor’s new anti-weapons units and additional overtime, city hall officials said.

Adams also offered to allocate $55 million to expand a program to send social workers instead of police in response to mental health emergencies – which would reach central Brooklyn, eastern Queens and southern New York. Bronx.

The initiative began as a pilot program in Harlem last year — but police have continued to respond to the vast majority of mental health emergencies — and has expanded this year to precincts in upper Manhattan and southern New York. Bronx.

The proposed budget also attempts to at least partially fill some holes left by the federal government’s withdrawal of pandemic aid. An additional $30 million for emergency food deliveries to food pantries would bring total funding for the coming fiscal year to $52.5 million.

That’s still less than the $73.5 million spent this year alone on a federally funded program that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to food pantries, but that will be phased out on June 30.

Adams, who said he didn’t discover he had dyslexia until late in his college career, also announced $7.4 million in additional funding for dyslexia screenings and literacy programs over the three next exercises.

And he has proposed an initiative that will reduce the cost of subsidized childcare programs – so a family of four earning $55,000 a year would pay $10 a week, down from $55 previously.

Due to unions

A major unknown is the ultimate cost of settling expired or about to expire municipal labor contracts, the costs of which will run into the billions. Under Adams’ plan, about a quarter of the boosted tax revenue would go into a $1.7 billion reserve for wage increases.

Budget watchers say that by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, the city should raise even more money from higher-than-expected tax collections – $750 million, according to the Comptroller of State Thomas DiNapoli. City Comptroller Brad Lander says the money will have to go into the labor pool.

A 3% raise for all city workers, consistent with the one won by apartment building workers earlier this month, would cost $3 billion a year.

The administration added $200 million to its reserves, bringing the total to $6.3 billion. It’s the highest dollar total in history, but as a percentage of the budget it’s lower than at other times the city has been full of money.

Lander called for a much higher increase in city reserves — and a review of criminal justice spending, especially in light of scathing reports from a court-appointed comptroller of prisons.

Comptroller Brad Lander (center, masked) watched Adams deliver his budget speech.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Dignitaries sat in the front row of the Kings Theater during Mayor Eric Adams' budget speech on April 26, 2022.

Comptroller Brad Lander (center, masked) watched Adams deliver his budget speech.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

“Some of the investments are responsible. Investments in shelters, parks and transportation are good solid investments,” Lander said. “But a 500-person increase in Corrections without any plans for the reforms needed to read the reports or visit Rikers is not.”

Adams told a news conference that prison officers are needed to staff the punitive segregation units, operating out of nine separate housing areas in city jails.

On Monday, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) and other council members released their response to the proposed budget, calling for more funding for social services. The Council will negotiate the budget with the town hall by the end of June.

“New Yorkers want to be safe in their communities and want their families and neighbors to be healthy,” President Adams said at a press conference.

“This is the biggest budget for our city in a very, very long time.”

Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), who is the finance chairman, said the city needs to fully recover economically from COVID in 2025 — but there’s still revenue coming into the city that needs spending .

“The response we’ve come up with is responsible and calls for more money being put into the rainy day fund – but also says look, there’s extra money out there, we need to spend it, it’s now is the time to double that investment,” he said. mentioned.

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