First on Eyewitness News: Mayor Eric Adams slashes funding to migrants, cancels city budget cuts

Wednesday, February 21, 2024
First on ABC7: NYC slashing funding to migrants, canceling budget cuts
N.J. Burkett has more.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday morning that drastic city budget cuts proposed for the coming fiscal year across all municipal agencies will be canceled and a hiring freeze will be lifted.

Adams explained that his administration is achieving this because of a "better-than-expected economic performance in 2023 that resulted in an upward revision to the city's tax revenue forecast" and further cutbacks in city spending on asylum seekers.

"You're not going to see some of those draconian steps that we were going to have to take that will get in the way of the cleanliness and the safety of our city," Adams said.

Adams says New Yorkers should feel relieved. After two rounds of punishing budget cuts to all but the most essential city services, the budget is stabilizing. And a planned third round will no longer be necessary.

Eyewitness News asked the mayor what it all means for New Yorkers.

"Well, if we had to do the third rounds, it will impact garbage pickup, it will impact our services to our older adults, it will impact libraries, you will impact a series of services that you will actually see the difference," Adams said. "We're not going to have to do those third rounds, that third round of cuts to our agencies."

With respect to migrants, the administration is slashing an additional 10% in asylum seeker spending --bringing the total reduction in spending on migrants to 30% -- after a 20% reduction in spending already announced during the Preliminary Budget.

"When we inherited it, we were in an emergency state," Adams said. "Emergency conditions cost more money. We're now transitioning into a stabilized state. This is going to be here for a while. So by doing that, we can renegotiate contracts. We can look at long-term planning. We're not using this as an emergency, although we're in a crisis status. We're treating it differently because the emergency still exists. But we are managing it differently."

The cuts will go into effect in the coming weeks.

"We're now transitioning into a stabilized state," Adams said. "This is going to be here for a while. So by doing that, we can renegotiate contracts. We can look at long-term planning."

But the council speaker and the finance chairman had this to say: "Blunt cuts that had a disproportionately negative impact on vital programs were never necessary."

But Andrew Rein of the Citizens Budget Commission said lifting the cuts is ill-advised.

"The mayor has taken aggressive action, but he needs to go further if he's going to stabilize the city's finances," Rein said.

Council member Robert Holden says the mayor's cuts to migrant funding don't go far enough.

"When does it end? I'd like to ask the mayor, 'When do we see an ending to this?' There is no ending," Holden said. "The more you give, the more you hand out, the more that will come."

Adams says the city's economic recovery will bring in better than expected tax revenue. The announcement comes one day after the administration was praised by the independent credit rating agency Moody's for its handling of the city's budget crisis.

"We are far from out of the woods, but we're showing that we can manage this crisis if we watch how we spend and we manage the spending that we're seeing in the city," Adams said.

RELATED | New York City Mayor Eric Adams reflects on challenges of previous year

N.J. Burkett sits down with Mayor Adams to discuss some of the year's biggest issues.


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