Mayor de Blasio proposes $2 billion in spending cuts in Executive Budget

Photo via Flickr/nycmayorsoffice

Mayor Bill de Blasio released a preliminary $89.3 Executive Budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year on Thursday that includes over $2 billion in “very tough” spending cuts.

“It focuses on four things overwhelmingly: health, safety, food and shelter, that simple,” de Blasio said during his daily novel coronavirus briefing.

The proposed budget, which will need the city council’s approval in June, is 6 million less than what the mayor proposed in January of this year.

“There is no cost too great to keeping New Yorkers protected, but Washington must also step up,” said de Blasio. “New Yorkers deserve nothing less than the full support of our federal government in this time of crisis.

To get the city through the immediate next phase of the novel coronavirus crisis, the mayor said, the city is drawing down on budget reserves. The city drew out $900 million from its General Reserves and $250 million from the Capital Stabilization Fund, which pays for early-stage capital project planning and design.

Over $2.5 billion was taken out of the  Retire Health Benefits Trust fund which now has a balance of $ 2.08 billion. Total reserves for the fiscal year 2021 are now $2.18 billion.

The cuts and dips in reserves come as the city projects a $7.4 billion tax revenue hit in the rest of 2020 leading into 2021. Some believe that blow to the city economy could be worse though. According to a recently released report from the Independent Budget Office, the city could come closer to being hit with almost $10 million in lost tax revenue forcing the big apple’s economy to nosedive worse than the recession of the 1970s.

Education, health, social services, law enforcement, transportation, housing and parks all took heavy hits in De Blasio’s proposed budget.

Cuts to education programs like Summer in the City, Single Shepherd and College Access for ALL accounted for $49 million in savings for 2021. The city also chose to delay developing 3K programs in districts 1 in lower Manhattan, 12 in the Bronx, 14 in Northwestern Queens and 29 in Southeast Queens drawing in another $43 million in savings.

Delays in determining a new cohort of freshmen for the CUNY ASAP program, which helps students earn associate’s degrees at nine CUNY campuses, is saving the city $20 million, according to the mayor.

The city is cutting $15.5 million by reducing the number of contracts and supplies for arts programmings in middle and high schools.

The city is also cutting $ 1.8 million in contracts, technology curriculum and health education certification programming for teachers for the fiscal year 2021 and another $3.8 million from supplies for Civics for All programming just to list a few cuts.

“We all know there are tough budget times ahead, and new sources of revenue have to be found. But according to its own filing with the state, the New York City school system spends more than $6 billion every year on central administration,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew in a statement. “To the extent that DOE cuts become necessary, that’s the first place the city should be looking. Now is not the time to cut direct services to students and school communities when they are going through so much.”