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2024 NYC budget released

Migration crisis, labor deals, gap closures and parliamentary infighting create uncertainty

April 27, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The 2024 city budget was released on Wednesday afternoon with big allotments to essential government programs. For fiscal-year 2024, the city government has over $106.7 billion on its balance sheet. 

The mayor’s office said in press statements that the largest increase in the budget was fueled by recent waves of migration as well as labor agreements brokered with law enforcement and the health care sector. For fiscal-years 2023 and 2024, the budget remains balanced, with out-year gaps of $4.2, $6 and $7 billion in fiscal years 2025 through 2027.

Tax revenues increased by $2.1 billion in FY23 and $2.3 billion in FY24, driven by better-than-anticipated growth in personal income tax, business tax and sales taxes that helped maintain balance. Financial experts predict an economic slowdown later this year, which will in turn slow city tax revenue growth in the out-year budgets.

“Our Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget prioritizes our working people’s agenda and keeps our city working for the benefit of all New Yorkers. But the challenges we face are real — including the costs of the asylum seeker crisis, the need to fund labor deals, and slowing tax revenue growth — and we must budget wisely,” said Mayor Adams on Wednesday. 

“The PEG (Program to Eliminate the Gap) was a success, achieving $1.6 billion in savings across the two fiscal years, and over $3 billion in the out-years without a single layoff or service reductions. Further, we did not cut a single penny from libraries or cultural institutions, and adjusted savings targets for agencies to avoid cutting critical needs.”

Among the most unpopular of the mayor’s budget cuts were potential closures of public libraries on the weekends due to a previously expected 4% reduction in funding. On Wednesday, the mayor’s office slid back on the cuts. NYC Comptroller Brad Lander commended the mayor on the decision, while emphasizing that the lack of an actualized state budget has left city lawmakers in the dark, thereby forcing the city to slate a record-breaking $106.7 billion budget. 

“The City of New York’s FY 2024 budget must thoughtfully balance funding the services New Yorkers rely on today with long-term financial stability,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander. 

“We do need to address significant out-year budget gaps, but we don’t need to close our public libraries on the weekends, as the Mayor acknowledged today.”

“Unfortunately, without an adopted State budget from Albany, the City is operating in the dark when it comes to the impacts of proposed assistance and potential cost shifts,” continued Lander, “and today’s Executive Budget reflects that uncertainty.”

The city will have to amend the Executive Budget when the state passes a comprehensive budget, which is over three weeks late. Assembly member Scott Gray of District 116 told WWNYTV on Monday that he is hopeful the state will reach a consensus sometime next week. 

“[Staff] Monday to Monday have been notified that they will remain in the Capital Region, which is an indication that we will be passing budget,” Gray said. 

Upcoming city investments include the following, according to the mayor’s office: 

Uplifting Working People

Improving Sustainability and Resiliency

Strengthening the City’s Mental Health Resources

  • Baselining funding and continuing the expansion of the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD) program into the remainder of the Bronx, as well as additional high-need neighborhoods in other boroughs ($27 million).
  • Supporting mental health services for children in family shelters via telehealth as part of the “Housing Our Neighbors” blueprint ($1 million).
  • Developing digital access to mental health support, in collaboration with New York state, to consolidate and streamline how New Yorkers with serious mental illness access services ($1 million).
  • Increasing the capacity of clubhouses that provide peer-led support in high-need areas citywide ($2 million).
  • Launching the School Tele-Mental Health program that gives high school students access to telehealth services ($9 million).

Building Out the College-to-Career Pipeline

  • Supporting the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Inclusive Economy Initiative programs ($4.8 million), including:
    • Supporting its Industry-Campus Backbone Initiative, in which staff engage with employers to secure industry-specific internships and job opportunities for students and help update curriculum to match current trends.
    • Investing in the Boosting CUNY Career Capacity program, which links students with industry experts who give academic and career advice.
  • Investing in the Medgar Evers College Brooklyn Recovery Corps, which connects 200 students a year with nonprofits and small businesses in Brooklyn to work on projects that spur economic recovery and growth ($1 million).
  • Funding and expanding the CUNY Reconnect program, which helps students who left CUNY because of extenuating circumstances return and earn their degree ($5.8 million).
  • Supporting the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities’ plan to promote workforce development for people living with disabilities, as announced in second “State of the City” address ($1.2 million)

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a press statement on Monday that the mayor’s PEG and higher-than-expected tax revenues indicate an optimistic outlook for the coming year, but the delays from Albany and the assumption that the state will contribute to the city government’s efforts with the migrant crisis complicate a would-be bright future. 

“While the budget is balanced for FY 2024, the city faces challenges in the future as out-year budget gaps have grown and projected savings from the PEG will not be enough to offset these new costs,” said DiNapoli on Wednesday. 

“The cost of asylum seekers, unbudgeted at this time last year, is expected to reach $2.9 billion in FY 2024, larger than the Fire Department’s operating budget. The city then budgets $1 billion for migrants in FY 2025 and zero thereafter, creating some uncertainty and highlighting the difficulty with accounting for this cost, “ continued DiNapoli. 

“The city assumes the state will provide nearly a third of the funding support needed but federal funds are not there and greater clarity from the federal government is needed to manage the situation.

The delay in the state budget has created additional fiscal uncertainty for the city, which will have to be remedied in the city’s adopted budget expected in June. A swift agreement by the legislature and Governor will provide New York City, and other localities whose fiscal year is set to begin, greater certainty in managing their budgets.”

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams reminded politicians and the public in a statement on Wednesday that the issues facing the city must not be used as justification for removing necessary resources. 

“As I argued in Washington, D.C. last week, the necessity of state and federal funding to support the needs of asylum seekers is real and urgent. At the same time, so is the need to provide essential government services at their full capacity,” said Williams. 

“These goals are part of the same moral and governing mandate, and one cannot be used as justification to impede the other. The issues highlighted during this surge in people seeking asylum also pre-dated it – the day before the first bus arrived at Port Authority, there were already 50,000 New Yorkers in shelters, many for years,” continued Williams. 

“Our city’s current budgetary challenges have certainly been exacerbated, but are rooted in years of government failure to address systemic problems.”

In Albany, Assembly and Senate Republican representatives attempted to delay the state budget further on Wednesday by proposing constitutional amendment (S.4285, A.5996), sponsored by Senator Mark Walczyk and Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, to prohibit an immediate vote from being called by the governor or acting governor on any budget bills, citing a constitutionally required three-day budgeting process.

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