July 1, 2020

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams issued the following statement in response to Mayor Bill de Blasio's comments dismissing the Charter-mandated role under Ch. 58 Section 1518 of the Public Advocate to sign the property tax warrants allowing the execution of the city budget after its adoption. The Public Advocate has formally notified the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council today that he does not intend to sign the warrants under current budgetary conditions.

"I respect the Mayor's opinion, but he's been wrong before - whether in misinterpreting 50-a to prevent police accountability for the last six years, misinforming the public about instances of police misconduct over the last six weeks, or misallocating hundreds of millions of dollars in the last sixteen hours. If the Mayor would rather have a legal battle with my office than a meaningful fight to redefine public safety at moment when the city needs a real plan, it's just another instance of misplaced priorities for an administration that says we can't afford additional doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, counselors, but can only afford to hire more police."

General Counsel to the Public Advocate Elizabeth Guzman added, "Pursuant to section 1518 of the New York City Charter, property tax warrants need to be 'signed only by the public advocate and counter-signed by the city clerk.' Without his signature, the city's Department of Finance cannot collect billions in property taxes during the city's 2021 fiscal year. The Public Advocate has made clear the most egregious and potentially reconcilable issues within this budget and asks the Mayor to come to the table to meet this moment of need before the next collection cycle is set to begin."

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