New York City’s largest police union has slammed budget cuts announced by Mayor Eric Adams, warning they will make the streets less safe by bringing the number of officers down to levels last seen in the 1980s and 1990s.
Adams, a former cop, revealed sweeping five percent cuts across services on Thursday, saying the city needs to close the budget gap left by the more than 140,000 migrants who have arrived since last Spring.
The Big Apple is predicted to spend approximately $12billion on the ongoing migrant crisis within the next two years.
While the cuts will affect city services across the board, the NYPD will see the most dramatic effect – the next five recruiting classes will be cancelled bringing the number of cops patrolling the streets from 33,541 to about 29,000 over two years – the lowest staffing numbers since the 1990s.
‘Cops are already stretched to our breaking point, and these cuts will return us to staffing levels we haven’t seen since the crime epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s,’ Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said.
‘We cannot go back there. We need every level of government to work together to find a way to support police officers and protect New York City‘s 30 years of public safety progress.’
Mayor Eric Adams announced five percent budget cuts across the board, blaming the migrant crisis that has seen over 140,000 arrive in the city since 2022
The NYFD, on its part, will have to cut $74million from its 2024 budget.
Andrew Ansbro, president of the NYFD union, said the city ‘should have taken a different approach with the life-saving agencies like the FDNY and NYPD, which could really affect safety in New York City.’
He added: ‘Our job being dangerous, we have lot of members who getting physical injured … now they are being pushed out the door to early retirement when they have a lot to offer. They are cutting back on people who really help the safety of FDNY and residents of New York City.’
If the circumstances don’t change dramatically, and the federal government doesn’t help the city with the migrant crisis, Adams said city agencies will be forced to reduce city-funded spending by 5 percent two more times within the next two months.
The cuts will also see the Education Department’s funding slashed by more than 500M in one year, meaning a hiring freeze that could eliminate 37,000 vacant pre-K and 3-K slots.
Moreover, free summer classes in a program known as Summer Rising will be cut for middle schoolers.
The sanitation department will also be greatly affected by the announced $32million budget cuts – there will be fewer wastebaskets around the city and curbside composing rollout in in the Bronx and on Staten Island will be delayed.
‘Cops are already stretched to our breaking point, and these cuts will return us to staffing levels we haven’t seen since the crime epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s,’ Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said
The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library also would need to eliminate Sunday service due to the budget cut.
Adams also said the budget includes a 20 percent cut to migrant services, but did not reveal specifics on which areas would be impacted.
NYC Comptroller Brad Lander also slammed the budget cuts – and Adams’ assertion that the migrant crisis is to blame.
‘The budget cuts proposed today risk doing harm to the wellbeing of all New Yorkers, especially our most vulnerable,’ Lander said on Thursday before adding that: ‘City Hall should stop suggesting that asylum seekers are the reason for imposing severe cuts when they are only contributing to a portion of these budget gaps, much of which already existed.’
City Council will have to approved the announced budget cuts, but members have not yet signaled if they will support the measures.
However, not every group was happy with the mayor’s Thursday budget proposal. Chair of the City Council’s progressive caucus Lincoln Restler told the New York Times that his group would not cooperate with the cuts proposed by the Democratic mayor.
‘Mayor Adams’s unnecessary, dangerous and draconian budget cuts will only worsen New York’s affordability crisis and delay our city’s economic recovery by cutting funding for the schools, child care, food assistance and more that help New Yorkers live and raise families in this city,’ he said.
Migrants from Africa, Mexico, and Venezuela line up outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan in August. The hotel has been dubbed ‘Ellis Island’ as it’s where the migrants are being processed
Adams warned even more cuts could be on the table early next year unless the federal government provides more financial and logistical aid to accommodate the migrants.
‘In the recent months our administration has delivered for you over and over again. Jobs are up, crime is down and everyday we are delivering for working people,’ Adams said on Thursday.
‘But for months, you’ve heard me talk about the fiscal challenges the city is facing as the cost of asylum seeker humanitarian crisis have skyrocketed – placing great strain on our budget.’
‘At the same time, Covid-19 stimulus funding is sunsetting – we have been clear that without significant, timely action from our state and federal partners, we will be forced to make some tough choices.’
As mayor Adams deals with the budget and migrant crises, his office is also going through an FBI probe into his campaign fundraising.
The Democrat had his phones seized by the FBI after federal agents conducted raids on the homes of two of his aides as part of an investigation in an alleged campaign kickback scheme involving the Turkish government.