The accounts still do not balance for Eric Adams in New York because of immigration. The harsh cuts approved by the City Council to try to reduce the deficit are not near enough, so the Budget Director of the Big Apple, Jacques Jiha, has sent a letter to all departments to present a plan to reduce by an additional 5% their budgets -except for the Police, Firefighters and the Health departments- before December 8. In addition, he announced that the Administration is finalizing a cut of $2.1 billion in spending to support immigrants until 2025.
For months, we have warned New Yorkers about the challenging fiscal situation our city faces.
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) November 16, 2023
New York faces a deficit of $7.1 billion
In the letter, accessed by the New York Daily News, in which Jiha demanded a greater effort from local agencies, the person responsible for the city's accounts regretted having to resort to these extremes, but the city's deficit amounts to 7.1 billion dollars. "I truly wish that there were other, less painful, ways to address this budget crisis," said Jiha, who justified the exemption of the three departments because additional cuts "could affect public safety, health and cleanliness."
However, Jiha noted that the greatest burden will fall on asylum seekers. The municipal official announced that he will undertake a 20% cut in the amounts allocated to shelter and provide services for immigrants. According to the City Council's forecasts, in the 2024 fiscal year (which began on July 1), spending in this field will exceed $4.7 billion, which they must reduce by $940 million to meet their own objectives.
The City Council suggests that it will reduce the length of stay in shelters
The City Council foresees even greater spending for 2025 on this item, which would reach $5.9 billion. With the new plan (which they have called "Program to Eliminate the Gap" (PEG), Jiha must see how to cut some 1.18 billion in this field, to try to contain the deficit. Jiha did not specify how he intends to undertake such an important cost containment, nor if he will close some of the emergency shelters opened by the City Council, although he aimed to continue reducing the time allowed to asylum seekers in municipal shelters. Currently, a single person has a period of 30 days, which increases to 60 for families.
However, the Mayor's Office insisted that the situation is critical for the city without state and federal aid, and that it could even require additional cuts. Adams spokesman Charles Lutvak said, "We must close an unprecedented budget gap in just two months, and without the significant and timely support we need from Albany and Washington, we will be forced to find even more savings. Our state and federal partners can help stave off these cuts by providing the funding necessary to support vital city services."
Democratic leaders hold Adams accountable for management
Several of the Democratic leaders on the City Council, who could block the plan, agreed to denounce the lack of economic aid by the Biden Administration, but also held Adams accountable for his management. This is how Justin Brannan, who chairs the local Finance Committee, put it: "Without real help from D.C., the administration has relied on expensive emergency contracts with for-profit companies, that cost the city billions of dollars for migrant care and now the bill is due. We need a full accounting of these costs and a long-term plan."
Brooklyn City Council member (and chair of the finance committee) @JustinBrannan reacts to the mayor's November budget cuts, including why the budget gaps are not a surprise, and how he thinks they should be bridged: https://t.co/Gs8Gr7suvu
— The Brian Lehrer Show and A Daily Politics Podcast (@BrianLehrer) November 20, 2023