NYC Public Advocate's Response To The Budget Handshake Agreement

June 29th, 2023

Press Release

"The budget agreement announced today thankfully prevents many of the highest-profile cuts to city services that New Yorkers rely on. I thank the Council and community for their advocacy. and the mayor for agreeing to this funding. Unfortunately, a necessary focus on restoring cuts meant that many new and necessary investments were not able to be made. Maintaining public school funding and supporting libraries should be a given, but so should strengthening and expanding services to meet the moment and the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

"I am glad to see investment in areas such as gun violence prevention through the Crisis Management System, yet we need new programming that builds on its successes. Increased funding in Fair Fares is in this budget, but not approaching what is needed. Securing funding for affordable housing is a significant victory, but it comes against a backdrop of a vetoing legislation to help get New Yorkers into that housing. Investments in a mental health continuum, in support services through Community Schools, are important ways to support the health, safety, and well-being of New Yorkers. Cutting funding from restorative programming on Rikers or homeless service providers will do the opposite.

"As I have said many times – investment, not austerity, is the most effective means of meeting the compounding crises our city faces, and we just cannot point to our challenges as a reason to prevent investment. While it is abundantly clear that federal funding is needed to help support those seeking asylum in our city, our newest New Yorkers are not a sanction or a scapegoat for not investing in services that will uplift all people and communities across the five boroughs. This is made even more frustrating by the administration’s opposition to common sense revenue raising measures from the wealthiest New Yorkers, not the working class, which could help fund these services. 

"Preventing cuts, while critical, only maintains a status quo that does not adequately address the challenges facing so many New Yorkers, rather than moving forward. Beyond these negotiations, beyond the budget adoption, we have to continue to push for progressive investments that are smart, sustainable, and best serve our city."

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