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NYC Council members call to reverse budget cuts for libraries and schools

Zaki Azam

After months of budget hearings, the New York City Counsel responded to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2025. The council identified an additional $6.15 billion that can be used for the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years which is not included in the current budget proposal.

The City Council said the money can reverse budget cuts that NYC agencies have been facing as well as help minimize the impact of expiring federal stimulus funds. The main source of the additional money comes from $3.35 billion in tax revenue which was higher than expected. 

Another $550 million comes from in-year reserve funding and $2.25 billion can be accrued from wages that are not being paid due to vacant positions. The council wants to allocate $1.6 billion of this additional budget to reverse recent budget cuts that have been impacting NYC. 

Mayor Adams’ office issued a statement in response to the council’s proposed budget and said that they are looking forward to working together to “keep the city safe, clean and a welcome place to live, work and raise a family.” 

The mayor’s office did not specifically comment on the Council’s budget plan.

The fight over the NYC budget started last fall when Adams announced three rounds of 5% budget cuts. The cuts announced in November left many city agencies struggling. Those impacted by lower budgets were police departments, education departments, libraries and the city’s human services such as shelters, domestic violence units and food pantries.

Originally, Adams announced the budget cuts to take place in November, January and April. There were some rollbacks to the January budget cuts for libraries and social services. 

However, not everyone was spared in January budget cuts. Programs like arts, parks and older adult centers lost more funding from the city. The last round of cutbacks in April was cancelled citing higher tax revenue than expected.

The budget cuts impacts were seen around the city almost immediately. In December, the New York Public Library had to stop its seven-day service due to budget cuts. The Education Department was also faced with cuts to pre-kindergarten and 3-K programs. 

The arts and adult centers are being hit hardest with full two rounds of budget cuts.

Adams cited the migrant crisis as a major reason for budget “gaps” that resulted in budget cuts for many departments. 

However, many government officials spoke out against the villainizing of the migrants that are coming into the city as a reason for budget cuts because most budget gaps existed before the migrant crisis. 

The city council has the authority to vote and resist some of the budget cuts. The fight over the city’s budget is expected to happen before the budget is finalized for the 2025 fiscal year. 

The final budget for the next fiscal year is due in June and the negotiations for the budget will have the ability to reverse existing 2024 budget cuts.

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