New York City to Cut Up to 15% of Its Budget to Pay for Migrant Influx

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that because of the huge influx of asylum seekers into the city and the lack of help from Albany and Washington, he’s been forced to ask for a 5% reduction in spending from all city departments. And if no help is forthcoming, he says he’ll have to ask for another 5% reduction in January and another 5% next March.

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Adams says the migrants will cost the city up to $12 billion over the next three years. Without state and federal funds, they will “destroy New York City,” he proclaimed earlier in the week.

Frankly, it’s hard to tell if Adams is just trying to put pressure on his friend Joe Biden and his enemy Gov. Kathy Hochul, or if he’s serious about cutting billions in city services.

“The simple truth is that longtime New Yorkers and asylum-seekers will feel these potential cuts,” the mayor said in a pre-recorded message. “And they will hurt.”

It’s not like New York isn’t already in crisis. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has been critical in the past of Adams’s migrant policies. But she, too, recognizes that without state and federal aid, New York City is going to be in a world of hurt.

“There remains an urgent need for increased state and federal support to aid the City’s response to increased international migration,” Speaker Adams wrote in a joint statement with City Council Finance Chair Justin Brannan. “Tens of thousands of people seeking asylum are arriving in our city at a time when we are already confronting a housing crisis, record homelessness, and the sunset of federal COVID stimulus funds. New York City cannot be expected to handle this on our own. The costs are considerable, and it is critical that the city receives more aid, while safeguarding funding that supports New Yorkers. The future of our city and its continued economic recovery relies on the investments we make into our communities and the essential services they rely on.”

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Neither Biden nor Hochul wants to touch the migrant problem in any way, shape, or form. Hochul doesn’t want to be dragged into the argument between Biden and Adams. And Biden is in the middle of a re-election campaign, and making this a national issue by giving New York City what it needs will hand Republicans a potent campaign issue.

Related: Biden Passes the Buck to Congress on Aid to New York for Asylum Seekers

New York Daily News:

For months, Adams has sounded the alarm over how the crisis has stressed the city’s social safety net, saying the city is running out of space to house the migrants. Advocates for the migrants said the city can do more to effectively respond to the crisis, including renting more vacant hotel rooms or provide city-funded housing vouchers to free up space in the shelter system.

The fight for more federal funding has put Adams at loggerheads with the Biden White House, which hasn’t fully responded to Adams’ needs.

On Wednesday, Adams predicted that the crisis would “destroy” the city without greater federal and state intervention, provoking the ire of left-wing groups who believed the mayor was scapegoating migrants.

“We already had a homeless population, we already had low-income New Yorkers that were struggling to feed themselves and to stay in their homes,” Adams said on “The PBS NewsHour” Friday. “We are going to transform this city, if this is not under control, with a price tag of $12 billion.”

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Adams is proposing the cuts at the tail end of the availability of pandemic cash that funded programs like pre-K schooling and some health programs. It seems likely that without federal and state intervention, Adams is going to have a revolt on his left flank and his credibility is going to take a nosedive.

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