On Tuesday, April 26th, Mayor Eric Adams announced his first New York City budget at the King’s Theatre in Brooklyn. The budget officially becomes active on July 1st, which marks the beginning of the 2023 fiscal year. The budget came in at a record-breaking $99.7 billion. The size of the budget was determined by an increased collection of taxes. Adams saw the increase in budget from the previous fiscal year necessary because the city has to “get up from the covid induced slump.”
The mayor gave a fifty-minute speech in which he spoke up about his plans as well as highlighted the problems in the city. “This budget puts people — especially those who have often been left behind — front and center. Success will be measured by how much we accomplish, not how much we spend,” he said.
The budgets of both the Police Department and the Department of Homeless Services have increased. The Police Department will see an increase from $5.4 billion to $5.6 billion. The Depart of Homeless Services sees an increase of $100 million. These increases are due to the fight against crime and homelessness, two issues that have badly plagued New York. The Department of Education will see a slight decrease, their budget lowering from $31.6 billion to $31 billion. The Sanitation Department sees no change, remaining at $1.8 billion.
The budget presented by Adams is an increase on his projected budget that he presented back in February. It is also higher than the budget presented by former Mayor Bill De Blasio in his last year in office. The budget will see the creation of employment opportunities in various departments, particularly the Parks Department and the office dealing with correctional officers. 578 new correction officers will be needed at Rikers Island as a means to deal with the issue of solitary confinement. The Parks Department will hire 774 new employees with a large number of them being assigned to cleaning and maintaining the city.
The Housing Authority and Department of Housing Preservation and Development will also get a financial boost. Their budget will increase by $500 million in order to repair public housing units. The construction and preservation of subsidized housing for the middle and working class are high on Mayor Adams’ agenda. “We must commit to creating the affordable housing that New Yorkers have needed for far too long,” said Adams.
The budget was commented on by Andrew Rein, Chief of the Citizens Budget Commission. “The Executive Budget takes some positive steps but focuses on spending more, nearly to the exclusion of the savings, restructuring, and efficiency needed to shore up the city’s fiscal house,” he said. He warned how not planning for the future may have an impact on the citizens of New York.
Adams could not conclude his speech without touching on the matter of crime. The mayor spoke on how New Yorkers should not be afraid of partaking in normal, daily activities. “There is no doubt in my mind that New York will make a full recovery and come back stronger and more resilient than before. But this is only possible if we continue to make public safety our top priority. Safety and justice are the prerequisites of prosperity,” he said.