Wednesday, February 15 was the annual Tin Cup Day in Albany. Tin Cup Day is an opportunity given to mayors across New York State to request more financial support from the state for problems that might be festering in their cities. Mayor Eric Adams was present at the budget hearing with his own litany of requests. While he spoke on a number of matters, his focus was on migrants, funding of the MTA, and charter schools.
Mayor Adams wants more financial assistance with the presence of thousands of migrants in New York City. He has previously called for federal and state funding to assist with the situation. Governor Hochul has suggested that the city, state, and federal government should equally contribute to solving the problem. Adams has, however, said the federal government cannot be trusted because it is controlled by the Republicans, and he has doubts they would be willing to provide extra financial support for what they deem a Democratic problem. He said if New York City does not receive adequate funds, essential services would become dysfunctional. Adams claimed that New York City would need $1.2 billion of federal and state support. By the middle of next year, he claimed his city would have spent $4 billion on the influx of asylum seeking migrants.
“Every service in the city is going to be impacted,” Adams said. “Every service. Over 11,000 [asylum seeker] children in our school system [we’ve absorbed]. Thus far, we have not seen any financial assistance to assist us.”
Senator Liz Krueger seemed to agree with Adams’ claim that New York City needed more financial support. She admitted that the state was not doing as much as it could. “In fact, we haven’t been giving the city the 29 percent that they should be getting in your traditional homeless shelters, which is at crisis levels,” Krueger said.
According to a February 6th OMB report, concerns were raised on unfunded mandates. The city would have to provide $500 million of its own funding to the MTA. This is a negative budget proposal as the city does not specifically have the financial capability to fulfill that request by Governor Hochul.
Adams rejected Governor Hochul’s proposal that the city provide $500 million worth of funding to the MTA. Adams believes that all localities should contribute to the MTA.
“We don’t have endless cash,” Adams said. “I think we have done our share when it comes down to the MTA,” Adams said. “And everyone should share that cost and I think the state has an obligation to make sure we fill those gaps.”
“We all want what’s best for riders, but we need a fairer and more sustainable proposal,” he said. “This current proposal hits New Yorkers twice — once through the higher fares that riders will still face and once through diminished service delivery by their local government, which will have at least half a billion dollars each year going to subsidize a state-run authority.”
Mayor Adams also noted that the charter school expansion proposed by Governor Hochul would be expensive for the city if it went through. He claimed it would take $1 billion from the city’s budget. Adams did not expressly oppose or agree with the expansion. His seemingly neutral stance allowed lawmakers who oppose the expansion of charter to express their point of view.
“It’s something that I adamantly oppose, the lifting of that cap and it’s good to hear that you kind of oppose it also,” Senator John Liu said.
Adams was more in favor of reviving ghost charter schools. These are schools that were given the greenlight but never operated. “I’ve gone into district schools that have been wonderful. I’ve gone into charter schools that have been wonderful,” Adams said, again stepping into neutrality.
Mayor Adams highlighted the expense of reducing class sizes. Governor Hochul recently signed into law the reduction of class sizes. This would entail the hiring of more teachers, an extra expense for the city. Class reduction would cost $1 billion.
Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul have largely been in agreement, however Adams might want to see adjustments in the Governor’s proposed budget.
Adams shifted his tone on bail reform. While had previously wanted universal changes to bail reform, according to Politico, Adams was looking to have about 2,000 repeat offenders targeted by tougher bail laws.
The state’s budget is not final yet, but will be debated, adjusted and completed by April 1st.