NYC Public Advocate's Statement On The Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget

February 16th, 2022

Press Release

"In discussions with the administration, I’ve stressed that the coming budget needs to build toward a new normal, a new era, and new philosophy, building on the strength of what has worked and learning from the errors of what hasn’t. In many ways, what the mayor outlined today acknowledges that need.

"Fiscal responsibility must be paired with human responsibility – we cannot cut for the sake of cutting without consideration of the cost to New Yorkers. In this year’s budget, we need to invest in what the government can do, and has an obligation to do, to improve the lives and protect the futures of its people. I appreciate that across a range of issues, the administration recognizes the role that strengthening successful programs and launching new initiatives can play in the immediate and long term health of our city’s people and economy.

"New York’s budget is still bolstered by federal spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis – how those funds are allocated and managed is critical to our recovery. This funding should be used not only to respond to immediate needs, but to bolster and build new physical and programmatic infrastructure that will set a foundation for the future – as will the record reserves this budget allocates.  

"This emphasis on long-term investment is reflected in the need to invest heavily in climate resiliency and other infrastructural improvements, which I am glad to see well-represented in the mayor’s budget. We need to go further, working to prevent as well as prepare for the kind of climate emergencies which were once extraordinary but are increasingly more common. Construction and conversion must also be devoted to safe, sustainable, deeply affordable housing across the city, and the city must provide DOB and HPD with the funding necessary to protect tenants across the city from bad landlords and dangerous violations.

"Key among areas of investment is community-centered public safety solutions. While law enforcement has a role to play, it is critical that we expand the scope of and budget for non-police alternatives, whether for mental health crises, traffic enforcement, homelessness outreach, gun violence intervention, harm reduction services, or roles within the NYPD which can be civilianized. I will continue to guide our budget and our city toward a reimagining of public safety.

"It is essential that our budget prioritizes the needs of and services for children and families. I am proud that after many years of advocacy from myself and others, the Summer Youth Employment Program will be essentially universal under this budget. We fought for this goal for many years, and it’s very encouraging and vindicating to see it highlighted so early in this process and administration. It is important that we expand opportunities and strengthen support for young people in their homes, communities, and schools. Expanding the number of school counselors and the resources available for restorative justice in schools will have an impact not only on the education of our young people, but the safety and stability of our neighborhoods.

"As my own family is experiencing now, focus on and investments in maternal health, both before and after children are born, is invaluable. I am glad that the mayor shares and reflects this commitment in the budget, and it should be paired with dramatic expansion in childcare services and affordability that will support families and strengthen our economy. Training medical workers before high-risk emergency deliveries and expanding at-home family visits will save lives. I am excited that the budget will invest in these critical programs for mothers and young families. 

"Our city’s investments must center both economic and community health, development, and growth, and I believe that this year’s budget can meet these goals. The mayor’s preliminary budget is just that, a starting point – and this is a good place to start. Over the next months of the budget process I look forward to working with the administration and the City Council to ensure that our city’s budget sets the city on course with the necessary resources for recovery and renewal."

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