On Sunday, December 17th, Mayor Eric Adams acknowledged that the Democratic Party did not fully comprehend the extent of challenges posed by the migrant crisis.
Adams told CBS News, “We underestimated the impact of the migrant and asylum-seeker issue that’s impacting major cities in this country.”
In an interview with WPIX-TV, Mayor Adams further stated his belief that the White House is unlikely to assist New York City in 2024.
He pointed out that due to the lack of assistance from the federal government, New York City would have to prepare for what Adams described as “extremely painful” budget cuts in 2024 for the city.
Adams emphasized the city’s need to adapt and manage with limited resources.
He said, “We’re going to have to see how do we deliver services to our agencies without the resources we normally have. We’re gonna have to become even smarter and better at delivering a product with less resources.”
Mayor Adams added, “Everything’s on the table, but we want to minimize the impact to low income New Yorkers, our educational institutions, our public safety, and keeping our city [safe].”
He continued, “Our insurance policy was the federal government. They’re not paying us. So, everything in that household is going to be impacted. You’re going to have to turn off the lights longer than you want to. You may not have to have two meals, three meals a day, may only have to have two. We must now find out how to balance our budget.”
Adams noted that even though the city has created the most private sector jobs in its history, the migration crisis “put a real bump in the road of our recovery effort in the city.”
Talking about rising taxes, the mayor reiterated that “everything is on the table.”
Adams stated his reluctance to raise property taxes, a responsibility he holds, citing concerns about the added financial strain it would impose on middle and low-income New Yorkers.
However, the mayor mentioned that if revenue from traditional sources starts to dwindle, he may have no choice but to consider tax increases to balance the budget.
Adams in his CBS interview, also pointed out the visible signs of the crisis, such as the proliferation of scooters in Midtown, used by migrants for unregulated delivery work.
“It’s created this underground market that is really dangerous to the infrastructure of our city, and the scooters you see is a reflection of that,” he explained.
Despite efforts to manage the issue, including removing 13,000 scooters from city streets, challenges persist.
Adams revealed that the city faces a $12 billion budget deficit due to the migrant influx. Over 150,000 migrants have arrived in the city since the spring of 2022.
The city administration’s efforts to secure federal assistance have so far been unsuccessful.
Adams also addressed his low approval ratings, attributing them partly to the migrant crisis and the federal government’s inadequate response.
A Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month revealed that the mayor’s approval rating stands at 28%, the lowest in three decades.
Adam stated, “New Yorkers are angry. They’re angry at just the totality of where they see this situation has brought us. You know, beginning of the year and even into the year they thought this was Eric Adams just opening our city up, not looking at the impact of what this crisis [is.]”
He continued, “So, they’re angry, and it’s going to come up. I’m the mayor, you know, and so you’re going to point towards the mayor if your trains are not on time, if your trash is not picked up, if you see cuts in services. That is my role. I have to navigate us through this.”
Talking about the proposed congestion pricing plan for Midtown Manhattan, Adams expressed his desire for modifications to consider exceptions for essential services and medical needs.
According to the plan, a $15 “congestion” toll would be implemented for drivers entering the business district of Midtown Manhattan.
The mayor said, “We must make sure that those who go and drive to Manhattan for luxury purposes should be treated differently from those who are doing it for necessity.”
Regarding the federal investigation into the mayor’s campaign funding, Adams noted that he maintained his campaign to the highest standards.
The FBI is investigating the Adams campaign for possible federal crimes, including bribery, and has seized his phones and iPad as part of the investigation.
The mayor said, “The federal investigators must do their review, and we’re going to cooperate fully as we have done. And the outcomes will be the outcomes.”
Adams dismissed the notion of stepping aside in case of indictment.
He stated, “I think it’s ridiculous for somebody to say if there’s an indictment. People are throwing these words out there. Let the process carry out.”
Adams added, “I am going to serve as the mayor of this city and navigate us through this until the people of this city determine.”