"This has never happened in the history of New York City," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Demonstrators held a rally outside New York City Hall Friday to call on City Council to stop Mayor Eric Adams' controversial budget cuts from going through.
Those cuts, 5% across the board and announced earlier this week, would affect schools, libraries, firefighters, police and more.
The protesters included members of impacted unions and community groups as well as elected officials.
The budget calls for billions of dollars of cuts, including hundreds of millions from schools and libraries and $1.1 billion from the NYPD alone, shrinking the department by 13.5% over the course of two years.
Sanitation is also being cut back, along with overtime in the FDNY.
The cuts to schools will impact preschool programs and summer school programs.
The mayor says the cuts are driven largely by the migrant crisis.
His critics say tax revenues are up and the city's economy, including tourism, is coming back since the pandemic, and that these cuts, particularly to education, are draconian and unjustified.
"This has never happened in the history of New York City," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. "The financial problem, as far as we know, is completely fabricated. We've been involved with budgets forever. We see what's going on. The mayor said this is because of the asylum seekers. There is no foundation, there is no evidence."
"It is such a shame to know that not even a meeting with the White House has been rescheduled," said NY State Sen. Jessica Ramos, "knowing full well that the city does largely depend on funding from the state and the federal government. What we need is for our mayor to do some serious strategic advocacy for our city and come back with funding from the federal government."
There is no getting around the fact that the city is facing a $7 billion budget gap.
Clearly, Mayor Adams is facing pressure on all sides.
Budget cuts will start going into effect immediately, but go to the City Council next week for approval.