by Christian Wade, for The Center Square
(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is directing city agencies to slash their budgets to help cover the costs of sheltering tens of thousands of asylum-seekers.
On Saturday, Adams informed the heads of city agencies that they will need to cut their budgets collectively by 15% by next spring to offset the rising costs of caring for more than 61,000 migrants currently under the city’s care. He said the spending cuts are necessary but will “minimize disruption to programs and services” and won’t result in layoffs of city workers.
“The simple truth is that longtime New Yorkers and asylum-seekers will feel these potential cuts — and they will hurt,” Adams said in a statement. “Coupling the costs of a national crisis that has fallen onto New York City with COVID funding that is running out and reduced revenue growth, our city’s financial future may be at risk if we do not act.”
New York has seen more than 110,000 asylum-seekers arrive in the city amid a surge of undocumented immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border over the past year.
Adams said the cost of caring for migrants is expected to reach $12 billion in the next two years without additional financial support from the state and federal governments.
“While our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” he said in Saturday’s statement. “This is a sobering fact, and that’s why today’s decision was not made lightly.”
The spending cuts would include a 5% cut by November, before the city’s Office of Management and Budget releases its next fiscal update, and two additional rounds of 5% cost-cutting in January and April, Adams said.
In a video address, the Democrat took aim at President Joe Biden’s administration and fellow Democrat, Gov. Kathy Hochul, for not providing the city with enough funding and resources to deal with the crisis.
“These tough decisions are a direct result of inaction in Washington and in Albany,” he said. “But the die is not yet cast. We can still avoid these cuts if Washington and Albany do their part by paying their fair share.”
Adams said the administration will also be taking “additional actions to control spending and promote budget savings” in the future but didn’t discuss specifics.
The Citizens Budget Commission points out that less than half of next year’s nearly $14 billion projected budget gap is related to the city’s response to the migrant crisis. The spending gaps have also been exacerbated by new and expanded programs, labor contracts, pensions, and “the failure to address the federal and city fiscal cliffs,” the group said.
But the fiscal watchdog panel said it supports Adams’ efforts to reduce the costs of shelter and services for migrants, which it says “appear extraordinarily high.”
“NYC should not bear this much of the cost of serving new migrants and asylum seekers. The federal government should provide much more fiscal aid, and the state’s recently increased commitment is welcome, but should be bigger,” Andrew S. Rein, the commission’s president, said in a statement. “The migrant crisis is a shared responsibility.”
Categories: National News