New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his revised $99.7 billion Fiscal Year 2023 Executive Budget Tuesday and discussed his first 100 days in office -- all while outlining his vision for the Big Apple's future.
"The truth is that these first 100 days were not easy for our city," Adams said Tuesday, addressing a packed house at Kings Theater in Brooklyn. "We have been tried and tested by some of the most historic difficulties and urgent crisis this city has ever gone through."
The mayor's first 100 days have been marred by a number of challenges including an increase in homelessness, rising violent crimes and gun violence throughout the city, and attempts of an economic recovery following fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
"The pandemic has hollowed out our economy and threatened our people's livelihoods, stability and mental health," Adams went on to say. "Housing prices remain out of the reach of working people of the city. To many of our brothers and sisters who are living on the streets in need of support and shelter. People are still dying from gun violence . It breaks my heart over and over. It keeps me up night after night. New Yorkers have a right to be angry, a right to expect more, to feel safe, to be safe, to know that your city is looking out for you."
Adams released the $99.7 billion executive budget, saying that the city achieved more than $400 million in savings over fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
Additionally, Adams said that in the budget, the city is adding $200 million to the rainy-day fund, bringing the total level of reserves to a new record of $6.3 billion in fiscal year 2023.
"This successful management of our resources will allow us to increase investment in critical priorities and fund transformative new policies," Adams said. "Most importantly, it will allow us to devote resources to upstream solutions — not only downstream demands. We must engage in building strong civic infrastructure that supports New Yorkers throughout their lives, not only in times of crisis."
Public safety has taken center stage since Adams has made it a key piece of his agenda.
However, the NYPD revealed the city's crime statistics for the month of March, announcing an overall crime index increase of 36.5% compared to the same time last year, but a dip in homicides.
While overall crime has increased, NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said last month that certain initiatives have proven successful.
In March, the NYPD said that the first three months of 2022 have been defined by "successful takedowns of violent subjects and the seizure of caches of illegal guns – including traditional weapons and newly emerging firearms known as “ghost guns” that can be 3-D printed at home." The police department also began selecting in January 2022 more than 400 officers for the NYPD’s new Neighborhood Safety Teams.
Sewell also stressed that the murder clearance rate is the highest rate of any final year-end clearance rate in the modern compstat era.
Despite statistics revealing murders are down, New Yorkers are still upset over the killings of innocent bystanders, including the recent the recent death of a 61-year-old woman who was walking down a Fordham Heights street when she unexpectedly was caught in crossfire between two groups on her way home from work. Juana Esperanza Soriano De-Perdomo died after being hit in the back with a bullet.
Last month, a 12-year-old boy died after being shot while eating in a car with family members in Brooklyn. The killing of both, the 12-year-old boy and the 61-year-old grandmother, has led to many calls for change.
The Adams administration also put into place in February a public safety initiative for the city's subway system, which has been plagued by crime and aggressive behavior over the last few months -- reaching a climax on April 12 when at least 10 Brooklyn subway riders were shot by a man wearing a gas mask and a construction vest who tossed two smoke canisters in the train car to distract the rush hour crowd before opening fire.
Adams, a retired NYPD captain who himself was the victim of police brutality when he was a teenager, said he will continue supporting city police, while also keeping in mind the need for an improved relationship between officers and the community the swore to protect.
"So when you hear people say, 'we don't need our police,' let me tell you right here and right now, I will support my police and we will make our city a safe city," Adams said Tuesday to a round of applause and cheers. "We will give police the tools that they deserve and are required. But, to my men and women that wear that blue uniform: we will not be abusive to the public that we swore to serve and protect. That is our obligation. That's a partnership."
HOMELESSNESS IN NYC
Additionally, Adams has also focused on addressing the homelessness issue across the city, including by removing hundreds of encampments. The Democrat's initiative mirrors similar overhauls in other liberal metropolises that had previously tolerated the encampments.
Advocates for the homeless have denounced the mayor’s move as heartless and were frustrated that Adams has taken action without releasing a comprehensive — and compassionate — plan to tackle the issues contributing to homelessness.
The mayor has continued to defend his plan, while asking critics join him going to homeless sites in-person before judging the city's effort.
He has previously said that he wants to clean up parts of the city that are “dirty” and “unsafe.”
"There is no dignity in sleeping on the streets," Adams proclaimed Tuesday. "Our brothers and sisters deserve better."
The administration is proposing $171 million in the 2023 budget to add 1,400 new Safe Haven and stabilization beds by mid-2023 to help unsheltered New Yorkers transition off the streets and out of the subway system into more stable housing.
New York City continues to face "an uneven recovery" two years after the first Big Apple was hit by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor said.
Last month, the city unveiled a report proposing initiatives to revitalize the city's economy. With that in mind, Adams announced Tuesday announced a new partnership with Taconic and DivcoWest, together with New York University, to bring new space to 455 First Avenue that will support cutting-edge research, entrepreneurial training programs, and workforce development.
Additionally, the mayor said that the city is also working to bring new space online at the Alexandria Center, completing the last of three life sciences towers.
In addition, in the 2023 budget, the administration is committing $140 million in capital funds for the Hunts Point Produce Market, which supplies roughly a quarter of the city's fresh produce. The budget also includes $5 million to help CUNY train students for the most in-demand skills and connect them to good jobs in high-growth sectors including in life sciences, the green economy, technology, and advanced manufacturing.
SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Since the pandemic had a great impact in the education system and resulted in learning loss, the 2023 proposed budget includes $101 million for summer activities including the Summer Rising program, which provides learning and enrichment courses with a focus on academic, social and emotional skills.
He also announced an investment of $7.4 million included in the proposed budget to fund new dyslexia screening sites and literacy programs. Additionally, $33 million were announced for the city's Department of Education to launch new career programs launching in September with a focus on high-growth job sectors, including health care and technology.
Additionally, as a means of providing affordable and accessible child care, Adams said that new rates will go into effect in June that will reduce fees.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEEDS
A top concern for New Yorkers in accessing affordable, quality housing. Due to this, Adams announced the city's largest-ever commitment to housing in the history of New York City. The 2023 budget proposes $5 billion in capital funding to promote the creating and preservation of affordable housing.
The budget also provides $488 million in capital funding for park improvement projects.