Taking center stage at the historic Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Mayor Eric Adams both touted his accomplishments from his from 100 days in office and presented his $99.7 billion fiscal year 2023 executive budget in his first State of the City address Tuesday.
The budget the mayor presented Tuesday is up roughly $1 billion from the $98.6 billion preliminary budget he presented in January but still a couple hundred million shy of the $99.9 billion budget response the City Council highlighted on the steps of City Hall Monday. Adams said his budget will address four key areas: public safety, the city’s economic recovery from COVID-19, supporting young people and upgrading the city’s infrastructure.
The mayor presented his budget as a reflection of his overall vision for the New York he’d like to see.
“My vision of our shared future is this,” Adams said. “A city of safety and abundance of jobs, housing and care for all. A city where our children can play, read and thrive. Where education embraces the whole child and supports our families. A city where we capitalize on the progress we have made in new forms of energy and transit and commerce. A city that empowers people to live their best possible lives with access to green space, healthy food and preventive health care. A city that’s inclusive, fair and responsive to those who call it home. This is the city New Yorker’s want and deserve and it is all possible if we work together.”
Before getting into the nitty gritty of where the dollars in his spending plan would go, Adams said he prioritized savings in his first fiscal budget. Specifically, the mayor said his Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG) – that he brought back when he released his preliminary budget – is saving nearly $2 billion over fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
However, Adams said, the city has also seen an increase in revenues and federal dollars over the past two months, which they directed towards expanding the budget.
“This will allow us to direct additional funding to programs that address our most urgent challenges,” Adams said. “As a result, fiscal year 2022 and fiscal year 2023 remain balanced and we have a manageable, out-year gap.”
As Adams has said continuously since his days on the campaign trail, restoring public safety in the city is his top priority, which he says is reflected in this budget.
“Safety and Justice are the prerequisite of posterity,” Adams said. “We cannot have a city where people are afraid to walk the streets, ride the subway or send their children to school.”
The mayor’s budget includes $55 million to expand the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD) program, which is part of his “Subway Safety Plan.” B-HEARD is a program that deploys mental health professionals in response to certain mental health related emergency calls instead of police officers.
Additionally, Adams said in a press conference following his presentation that he’ll be increasing the NYPD’s budget, with most of the money going towards detectives and overtime pay.
“All of my initiatives cost money,” Adams told reporters. “So, this is not spending, this is investing.”
The mayor also touted the dollars he’s putting towards providing for the city’s youth. Adams said $4 billion in child care over the next four years and authorization for new tax incentives from the state will allow the city to create an additional 17,000 childcare seats.
The mayor also said his budget includes a large reduction in the fees families who qualify for subsidized child care will have to pay. Specifically, he said families earning $55 thousand a year that currently have to pay $55 a week for full-time child care, will only have to pay $10 a week come June 1.
“Making quality care more accessible will change lives, help our economy and support our children and families,” Adams said. “It’s a responsibility that too often falls on the women of the city. A story I know all too well. Watching mommy having to work two jobs while raising my five siblings and me. The work of care is the work of life. It is essential work and we’re going to treat it that way.”
Adams’ budget will also focus on tackling the city’s housing crisis by investing $5 billion in capital funds to build and preserve affordable housing over the next decade. In addition to building more affordable units, Adams said, the money will help make repairs to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and help people stay in their existing homes.
All of these investments, the mayor, is just the start of an effort that will take many years to get the city to a place of prosperity.
“These efforts are just the beginning,” Adams said. “We will continue to transform our city through good government and responsive leadership. And it all comes down to this – safety, jobs, schools, and housing. Sounds simple, radically practical. But it’s the work of many hands, many minds and many years. And there’s no better place to begin than right here.”
Now the mayor and City Council will enter into budget negotiations with a final spending plan due July 1.