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Local pols respond to City’s new budget

On June 30th, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and various members of the City Council gathered in the City Hall Rotunda to celebrate the passage of the fiscal year 2022 budget for New York City.
The $98.7 billion budget is the largest in the City’s history, roughly 12 percent higher than last year’s leaner, pandemic-influence budget of $88.2 billion. The 2022 budget passed by the closest of margins, with 32 City Council Members voting in favor and 17 against.
Mayor de Blasio and speaker Johnson are praising the fiscal plan as a key step in the City’s post-pandemic recovery. However, many critics — including current and incoming City Council members — are still upset with the result.
“This is one of the greatest investments in working families in the history of New York City,” de Blasio said during Wednesday’s press conference. “We are sending resources to the communities who need it most, this is a radical investment in working families and that’s what we need right now to come out of this pandemic and move forward.”
The budget includes many programs focused on recovery, including a $24 million provision to hire unemployed people in economically distressed neighborhoods.
Additionally, the budget (which has not yet been made open to the public) reverses many of the cost-saving cuts made to City agencies last year, including those to the Parks Department, Sanitation, and libraries.
Since the announcement, elected officials in Queens and Brooklyn have shared their thoughts on the budget.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards viewed the budget favorably, praising the Mayor for restoring funding to some services and allocating new funding for programs that can specifically benefit Queens.
“Here at Queens Borough Hall, I am thankful that many painful cuts to the Borough President’s Office from Fiscal Year 2021 are restored and now improved in this year’s budget,” Richards wrote in a statement. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, Finance Chair Dromm and the Council for securing a budget that places Queens and the rest of our City on a path to recovery.”
He continued: “This pandemic also unfortunately propelled a pandemic for hate, particularly against our Jewish, Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Muslim communities. As Queens saw a rise against hate, I called for these investments and I am proud that the $4 million AAPI Community Support and $1 million Hate Crime Prevention initiatives are included in this budget.”
Multiple City Councilmembers from Queens, including Peter Koo from District 20 (Flushing) and Adrienne Adams from District 28 (Jamaica), followed suit, issuing statements that celebrated budget victories for their own constituents and communities.
Brooklyn’s Borough President and Mayoral frontrunner Eric Adams shared a sentiment similar to that of the Queens BP, writing “I am pleased to see that this budget restores cuts to services including parks and sanitation, which are vital to our public health and quality of life, as well as cuts to our community boards, which represent the most local form of our civic engagement.”
However, many progressive-leaning politicians have taken issue with some of the provisions included in the budget. These concerns are focused primarily on the additional $200 million in funding awarded to the NYPD, which critics believed to be ill-advised after a year-long movement to decrease the department’s budget in response to police violence nationwide.
Mayor de Blasio defended the additional funding, stating that they are aimed at improving the NYPD’s “IT Needs” and cutting overtime spending.
“We want to have the department be effective, we need better technology to do that,” de Blasio said. “The other piece — and I say this very openly — we worked together on overtime. We reduced overtime a lot.”
In addition to the current City Council Members who opposed parts of the budget, a number of incoming Council Members also expressed concerns.
Our paper spoke with Jennifer Gutierrez, who recently won the election to represent District 34 (which encompasses parts of Bushwick, Ridgewood, and Williamsburg in both Brooklyn and Queens).
“For so many New Yorkers in organizing and movement spaces, there were a lot of expectations that this budget would work to remediate the glaring shortcomings from last year’s budget,” Gutierrez said. “Together, we demanded more transparency, an equitable recovery program, and divestment from the PD to invest in common-sense initiatives.”
Gutierrez continued: “It seems there were zero lessons learned in this opaque budget cycle. We have a lot to learn from, a lot to fight against, and a lot left to deliver for all New Yorkers.”

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