Kudos to Mayor Eric Adams for acting swiftly and ordering belt-tightening at city agencies in anticipation of huge budget problems ahead. And after eight years of Bill de Blasio, there’s surely plenty of fat to cut.
Goldman Sachs is slashing hundreds of jobs and the rest of Wall Street is likely to do the same; a flailing stock market will force the city to spend big to meet its pension obligations while soaring inflation will see the municipal unions demand hefty raises. And deep recession fears are all too realistic.
Plus, federal pandemic funds are running out and Gov. Kathy Hochul just forced up future schools spending via the class-size law.
Adams got $8.3 billion in “rainy-day” reserves into the current budget, but that won’t be enough as both the state and city comptrollers warn of coming budget gaps of $12 billion over the next four years.
So it’s good to see the mayor heeding our call to cut spending now. Tax hikes to close the gap would be insane when New Yorkers already pay the nation’s highest combined state/city tax rate at 14.78%.
Adams’ directive requires 3% spending cuts by city agencies (including NYPD, FDNY and DOE) for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends next June 30, plus 4.75% reductions the following two years.
The fat is there: The last mayor’s final budget was over $25 billion higher than his first as he grew the city workforce to more than 325,000 — the biggest ever.
Naturally, the unions are griping already, with United Federation of Teachers boss Mike Mulgrew complaining that despite the city’s “unprecedented financial reserves, the mayor calls upon his agencies to plan for budget cuts.”
If Mulgrew’s upset, bet that someone’s doing the right thing. Keep it up, Mr. Mayor.