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De Blasio Touts Budget Deal, Council Vote Ahead

Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed the new city budget today at City Hall, with a vote set for this evening (Ed Reed /Mayoral Photography Office)

June 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a municipal budget deal that would cut NYPD funding by $1 billion and redistribute much of it to support youth services and public housing residents.

The City Council will vote on the new $88.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021 — which begins July 1 — this evening, de Blasio announced.

The new budget moves the majority of the $1 billion cut from the NYPD to other city programs. It does not significantly reduce spending from the city’s overall operating budget.

The city will reinvest $430 million out of the $1 billion from the NYPD budget into youth programs, education and family and social services services.

The city will move another $537 million from the NYPD to NYCHA to support public housing residents. The money will go towards building recreation centers for NYCHA youths and will fund a broadband expansion in public housing developments.

The city will also reduce NYPD spending by canceling the July recruit class, majorly reducing overtime and reducing contracts and non-personnel expenses.

The July recruit class would have placed more than 1,160 officers on the ground in January.

De Blasio said the NYPD will maintain its patrol strength by redistributing officers from administrative roles to on-the ground work.

Crossing guards and the homeless engagement unit will also no longer be under the control of the police department.

The mayor said New York City is leading the way in police reforms with its cut to the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion budget.

“I hear the voices all over this city calling for justice,” he said as hundreds of protesters camped out in front of City Hall for about a week now demanding the mayor ‘defund the NYPD.’

“I know the city council does too and we’re acting on that call for justice.”

However, critics say that the $1 billion cut to the NYPD is not a true cut, but a bureaucratic shifting of NYPD funds.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson refused to say that the NYPD cuts add up to $1 billion during a separate press conference. He said he personally wanted to see larger cuts and more recruit classes cancelled.

Other de Blasio challengers had similar critiques.

“The ‘$1 billion cut’ to the NYPD proposed by the Mayor and the City Council is not a $1 billion cut—it’s a bait and switch and a paper-thin excuse for reform,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement.

Critics questioned how the city could cut officers’ overtime without a designated plan and said shifting the jurisdiction of specific police officers from the NYPD to another agency is not an actual budget cut. It’s just moving around police money, they said.

“Meaningful change in this moment won’t come by shifting police from one agency to another, and budget tricks won’t bring an end to the status quo,” Stringer said.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who doesn’t have voting power in the city council, said he would try to block the budget under the city charter rules.

“As we near the final budget vote, it has become clear to me that this budget ignores some of the most critical elements of reducing NYPD funding and redefining public safety,” he said in a statement.

“Unless it meets those needs, I will use my Charter authority as Public Advocate under Ch. 58, Section 1518, to prevent the budget from being executed during the final tax warrant process.”

Williams is asking for a full hiring freeze for the NYPD and a commitment to move NYPD safety agents out of schools.

“Progress cannot end on July 1,” he said. “New Yorkers will not be content with low hanging fruit, when what’s needed is to uproot the tree.”

The city initially proposed a $95.3 billion budget in February, but the coronavirus shutdown slashed revenue projections.

The new budget includes $1 billion in labor savings across all agencies. De Blasio said the city will work with labor unions to find the savings and hopefully avoid “last resort” layoffs come October 1.

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