Ignore the wailing, Eric Adams doesn’t cut NYC’s budget far enough

Critics are whining over tiny cuts in Mayor Eric Adams’ $102.7 billion spending plan for the coming year, yet those trims won’t be nearly enough to head off a looming fiscal storm — courtesy of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s massive bloating of the budget’s baseline.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, for one, fumes about “undermining” city agencies and services “that meet the essential needs of all New Yorkers.”

Yet Hizzoner’s plan calls for a mere seven tenths of a percentage point nip in city-funded outlays — in an overall budget that spends almost as much as the entire state of Florida (which has 2½ times NYC’s population).

Remember: De Blasio dramatically ballooned an already bloated city government, with outlays growing 30% (about three times inflation!) just through 2020 i.e., before the pandemic even struck.

That mushroomed fixed costs, including debt service and pension outlays, leaving ongoing headaches for his successor, precisely as we had warned.

Debt-repayment costs alone, for example, soared almost 20%, from $6.1 billion in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last budget to $7.3 billion by 2020, and are now on course to push $10 billion by 2027.

Pension costs surged to a mind-blowing $9.3 billion in 2019, 16 times as much as in 2000, per the city’s Independent Budget Office.

Indeed, Blas’ baked-in spending growth has left the city now facing colossal budget gaps, totaling nearly $15 billion through 2027. And those shortfalls don’t even figure in any concessions to labor unions (whose contracts have now expired), the costs of caring for 40,000 new migrants or a worse-than-now-projected economic downturn.

A responsible City Council would demand far more belt-tightening to weather the coming tsunami. Instead, it’s sure to demand (and win) even more spending in the final budget deal. They really do believe money grows on trees.

Brace for some beyond-rocky fiscal years ahead.

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