Eric Adams’ Community Op Ed: New York City’s Budget: Investing in Working Families and New Yorkers in Need.
Our city’s budget reflects our values, and for my administration, the needs of everyday people come first. This year, we navigated many significant financial challenges and have reached a budget agreement with our colleagues on the City Council—a budget that is smart, strategic and fiscally responsible, a budget that advances our administration’s Working People’s Agenda, and puts the needs of working New Yorkers front and center.
The Fiscal Year 2024 Adopted Budget comes in at approximately $107 billion and allows us to spend on services and programs that benefit all New Yorkers, while continuing to address the costs created by the asylum seeker crisis and adding to the $4.7 billion in budget savings that the administration has achieved over Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024 since last Adoption.
While we can’t predict with certainty which challenges tomorrow will bring, our near-record $8 billion in Fiscal Year 2024 reserves will help us ensure that New York City remains strong regardless of the issues we face.
Even as we prepare for the future however, we want New Yorkers to have the resources they need to thrive in the present. That’s why this budget protects and builds on our historic investments: in summer youth jobs and career pathways for students, in public safety and trash pickup, in connecting New Yorkers in need to mental health services or stable housing, and in maintaining the commitment we made last year to fund affordable housing and NYCHA at historic levels.
Thanks to careful budgeting and in partnership with the City Council, we have been able to restore a total of $36 million dollars in funding for our city’s libraries.
When New Yorkers speak, we listen. Parents told us they need preschool hours that better match their workdays, so we added $15 million dollars in funding to convert nearly 1,900 early childhood education seats into extended-day seats starting this fall.
Working New Yorkers have told us that getting to their jobs eats up too much of their paychecks, so we are expanding our Fair Fares Program. This program provides reduced-price transit fares to those who are eligible, leaving hard working New Yorkers with more money in their pockets to spend on other necessities.
We also know that public education is vital to all New Yorkers, so we invested in our public schools—and will not allow enrollment declines to negatively affect initial school funding levels.
And we are helping our students get on the pathway to good paying jobs and careers through college programs and internships like College Now, CUNY Explorers and Career Launch. We are ensuring that our young people can continue their education and achieve their dreams.
As you know I am deeply committed to improving public safety and ending gun violence, which destroys lives and communities. This budget provides resources for violence interrupters and other services that help do this important work for our city.
We are also increasing resources for supervised release and support services for justice involved New Yorkers.
When it comes to those experiencing homelessness and mental health issues, we have already made progress in helping people turn their lives around. This budget ensures we can continue to assist New Yorkers in crisis and get them off the streets and into long-term care.
We are providing wage increases for hundreds of thousands of city employees, putting more money into the pockets of working families across the city. We are also raising the wages of those who keep our social services up and running, like our nonprofit contractors, childcare centers and homeless outreach providers, and those who care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
We are making sure we can continue food delivery programs for older New Yorkers as well as meals at Older Adult Centers.
And because New Yorkers deserve clean streets, we are adding funding to clean commercial corridors and highways in all five boroughs.
With the hot days of summer upon us, we want all our children to have access to swimming pools and learn how to swim. We want to make sure all our kids are safe this summer and are not at risk of drowning due to them not having access to a neighborhood pool for lessons.
Public safety is the prerequisite to prosperity, and that means we must protect our kids while ensuring equity. So, we are adding funding to increase pool access across the five boroughs and provide swimming lessons to more children than ever before.
This budget balances the long-term needs of our city and the everyday needs of our people. Not all our investments are big dollar, but they are strategic, fiscally responsible and they put New Yorkers first.
I want to thank Speaker Adrienne Adams, Finance Chair Justice Brannan, and Budget Director Jacques Jiha and his team for their hard work making this budget happen. Most of all, I want to thank you—my fellow New Yorkers—for all you do to make New York the greatest city in the world.