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New York’s Budget Will Include More Revenue – but Also More Cuts

Previous funding that had been slashed from police, fire, sanitation and schools has since been restored. Meanwhile, costs related to migrants have been cut by 20 percent.

New York City has pulled in more tax revenue than Mayor Eric Adams and his budget team previously predicted.

Migrant costs, according to them, have been cut 20 percent.

And as of last week, funding that had been previously slashed from the NYPD, FDNY and the Sanitation and Education departments has been restored.

What exactly all that means for the city’s next budget, which Adams plans to unveil Tuesday, is still not entirely clear, though.

Adams played coy about the details last week, saying more than once that the city’s fiscal situation is extremely fluid and that his budget director, Jacques Jiha, would provide more information Tuesday.

Budget experts who spoke with the Daily News predicted, however, that some takeaways this week are fairly certain — and that from those, they could begin to explore what still isn’t known definitively.

“You’re going to see more revenue,” Andrew Rein, the head of the fiscal watchdog Citizens Budget Commission, told The News. “What we’ll see on Tuesday is how much.”

Last week, Adams made three separate announcements in three straight days focused on the restoration of funding to city agencies — agencies he said in November would face cuts. Those funding restorations included the reinstatement of a Police Academy class, and a reversal on winnowing down the number of firefighters and funding to the Sanitation Department that, if cut, would have resulted in 9,000 fewer trash bins on city streets. In addition to those restorations, which were presented publicly last Wednesday and Thursday, Adams announced Friday that the city would be restoring $10 million to its community schools program and putting $80 million in additional funds into its Summer Rising program.

Adams maintained that the restorations were not preordained — and that they came as a result of greater-than-expected tax revenues and the city cutting migrant costs by 20 percent, from an estimated $12 billion to $10 billion.

His critics — many of them Democrats in the City Council — have countered that the administration was overestimating the projected cost of the migrant crisis and severely lowballing revenue forecasts.

Jiha said Friday that in total the restored funding amounts to about $200 million, and stressed that a $7 billion budget gap remains — and is real.

But some of the mayor’s critics have voiced skepticism about the size of that gap and how the budget restorations have come about.

Nathan Gusdorf, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and City Council Finance Committee Chairman Justin Brannan aired some of their concerns last Friday in an op-ed in The News.

In a subsequent interview Gusdorf told The News that even in November, when Adams announced the latest round of cuts, it didn’t seem likely he’d stick to reductions within the NYPD, where the mayor worked until retiring as a police captain.

“It’s much easier politically to do this in two steps,” he said referring to the November budget modification and the more recent restorations. “We’re not surprised this has played out in how these cuts were reversed.”

Despite those reversals, Gusdorf expects even more cuts will be announced come Tuesday, assuming the administration remains consistent in what he described as its “pessimistic fiscal outlook.”

“We would not be surprised if they continue to be pessimistic and issue a substantial PEG for next year,” he said, referring to the cost-saving measure known as the Program to Eliminate the Gap.

He and Brannan, D-Brooklyn, both described the $7 billion budget gap the administration says exists as exaggerated and suggested that Adams needs to be more transparent with New Yorkers when it comes to the fiscal realities the city is facing.

“As I predicted, once the mayor’s budget team finally acknowledged the revenue we knew was already there, harsh cuts to cops, schools and trash pickups were summarily reversed. The Council will continue to push the administration to restore the most harmful cuts in the preliminary plan such as cuts to libraries, composting and CUNY,” Brannan said. “New York City undeniably faces tough fiscal decisions ahead, but in order to avoid long-term economic harm, we need to approach these challenges grounded in sober reality, not with the embroidery of an unmanageable crisis.”

Last Friday, Adams said he’s looking for ways to minimize cuts.

When asked about Brannan’s criticisms, he said it sends the wrong message and added that he’s planning to announce the opening of a migrant shelter in the Democrat’s southern Brooklyn district, where it is sure to be met with criticism from Brannan’s constituents.

“We all have to do more,” the mayor said. “This is a crisis.”

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