On a cold and rainy Monday morning, the Progressive Caucus of New York City Council gathered near City Hall to speak out against the steep budget cuts made by Mayor Eric Adams’ administration.
In November, the administration announced plans to slash the budget of each city agency by 5%, which they claimed is needed to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis. However, several city officials accused the Adams administration of obfuscating the source of the city’s financial woes. City comptroller Brad Lander said in a November statement that the migrant crisis contributes to only a portion of the budget gaps, and the City Council’s own financial projections indicate that “the City will have $1.2 billion more in tax revenue for 2024” than previously indicated by the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.
The Progressive Caucus, co-chaired by Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s Council Member Lincoln Restler, says now is the time for care, not cuts.
“Mayor Adams has one move — he’s done it five times in two years. His one move is to cut. It’s to cut, it’s to cut, and it’s to cut again. Cut our libraries, cut our after school programs, cut our early childhood education,” District 33 City Council Member Lincoln Restler told the crowd before directing his words towards the mayor himself, “But this is the thing, Mayor Adams — it’s time to get serious about government. And that’s what this progressive caucus is here to teach you how to do.”
“This mayor is not cutting it…He is not gonna take us out of this crumbling economy, he is not gonna bring us to a just future, and he’s certainly not the one to make universal child care a reality without us, without every single person here putting pressure on him,” said District 34 City Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez.
Most immediately, North Brooklyn will see the effects of the budget cuts in the elimination of Sunday service at the library (the last day of which will be December 17) and the end of popular community composting programs, such as the one at the McCarren Park farmer’s market.
According to recent polling, the budget cuts have proven unpopular with New Yorkers, joining a host of other factors contributing to Mayor Adams’ historically low approval rating. As a federal investigation into his campaign finances ramps up, only 28% of voters approve of the current mayor, the lowest number seen since polling commenced 27 years ago.