In addition to the two budget-cutting orders issued by his administration last year, Mayor Adams is telling most city agencies to cut their budgets by an additional 4%.
The latest austerity move was communicated to agency chiefs in a letter on Tuesday by Jacques Jiha, Adams’ budget director.
Jiha said that the mayor’s executive budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year would be revealed later this spring, including the new cuts, a Program to Eliminate the Gap or PEG.
Jiha blamed labor expenses, anticipated state budget cuts, and the city’s immigration issue, which he claimed had already cost $817 million as of the end of March, for the necessity for the extra budget cuts.
By July 2024, the overall cost of housing migrants, according to him, might exceed $4.3 billion.
As a result, agencies need to keep expenditures under control.
Jiha stated in the letter received by The News, “I realize that reaching this PEG will not be simple, but it is critically necessary, and I have tremendous trust in this team’s capacity to find creative and smart answers to the issues we face.
I always value your dedication to “getting something done” for New Yorkers.
Progressive activists and City Council members immediately reacted negatively to the austerity measure.
On Monday, they unveiled a response to the mayor’s preliminary budget proposal that included $1.3 billion in additional tax revenue that Speaker Adrienne Adams said could be used to undo the mayor’s proposed cuts.
Speaker Adams and Council Finance Committee Chairman Justin Brannan delivered an uncharacteristically sharp rebuke, questioning the administration’s estimate of the total cost of the migrants to the city.
They also predicted that the additional PEG spending restraints “will paralyze agencies, harm New Yorkers, and make it even harder for the city to recover successfully.”
Adams and Brannan released a statement saying, “The administration continues to rhetorically portray ever-changing costs for aiding asylum seekers, but never presenting the Council with any serious response to our repeated requests for evidence of these expenses.”
“Despite repeated requests from the Council to take action, this administration has done nothing to address the structural issues that can reduce some of the expenses of caring for asylum seekers.
The Department of Education and the City University of New York are the only local organizations exempt from the 4% budget cut, according to Jiha, who also noted that the NYPD is subject to the whole PEG.
Instead, Jiha stated, the two organizations will experience a 3% budget cut to “minimize disruption to schools.”
Layoffs are not a sufficient basis for budget cuts. But agencies “should avoid” doing so “whenever possible,” Jiha said in a departure from the administration’s last two PEGs that savings might be predicated on lowering services.
According to Jiha’s article, agencies have until April 14 to develop a savings distribution strategy.
The launch of the PEG coincides with various city services experiencing difficulty.