Contact: Zara Nasir, Sophie Ellman-Golan

The proposed modification cuts hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of core agency positions from a city government already in crisis

December 21, 2022 — The People’s Plan, an alliance of dozens of advocacy organizations and community groups, today issues a response to the proposed budget modification sent today by Mayor Eric Adams to the city council for charter-mandated approval. This budget modification contains a series of severe cuts to agencies already in staffing crises, and greatly reduces budgets for public libraries and CUNY while leaving the NYPD budget nearly untouched. The fiscal need for the PEGs contained in this modification is called into question by the Independent Budget Office’s recent estimate of a $2.2 billion dollar surplus for FY23.

“After cutting half a billion dollars from our public schools in June, Mayor Adams is now aiming to gut CUNY, shutter public libraries, and strip critical workforce capacity from agencies that provide health, housing and social services to millions of New Yorkers,” said Zara Nasir, coordinator of The People’s Plan. “With this proposed modification the Mayor is holding hostage needed council-created programs – like taxi medallion relief, the abortion access fund, and migrant support initiatives – until the council signs off on his reckless austerity crusade. We applaud the Council Members who are standing up against Mayor Adams latest austerity budget”

“Mayor Adams is cutting funding for libraries and public schools at a time when these exact institutions are directly in the cross-hairs of MAGA Republicans and violent hate groups right here in our city,” said Audrey Sasson, Executive Director of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ). “We should be doing everything we can to support them, not cutting them off and hanging them out to dry. To the mayor, these public institutions are expendable. But to New Yorkers, they are essential.”

“Mayor Eric Adams’s modified budget takes a hatchet to public education, libraries, parks, and other critical public resources that working families depend on”, said Sochie Nnaemeka, Director of the New York Working Families Party. “The devastating cuts to mental health and homeless services fly in the face of Adams’s supposed commitment to providing care to the unhoused and those with mental health issues. We join our elected and community allies in raising deep alarm with the impacts of these cuts and calling for investments that protect and strengthen working families.”

“During the worst cost of living crisis in forty years, the Adams administration is forcing poor and working-class New Yorkers to bear the costs of a recession that hasn’t even arrived,” said Jaslin Kaur, co-chair of NYC-Democratic Socialists of America. “With billions in surplus funds at his disposal, the Mayor is choosing to gut public institutions and city agencies—libraries, parks, public education—that millions of people across New York City desperately need. Together with his plan to eliminate public-sector union jobs through cutting half of all vacant positions, the Mayor is stripping City government of its ability to care for everyday New Yorkers in even basic ways. We call for the Council to side with the communities that elected them and stand up against Eric Adams’s austerity program.”

“At a time when nearly half of Asian American New Yorkers needs assistance getting food and Asian American unemployment increased by 7000% due to the pandemic, social services agencies are being overwhelmed by growing demand from vulnerable community members. Our City budget should be investing deeply in the programs that keep New Yorkers healthy, housed, and educated and in the workforce that provides these critical lifesaving services. Instead of an austerity budget, we should be shoring up for a possible recession by increasing funding to strengthen public programs like libraries and CUNY and to support seniors, immigrants, the unhoused, the uninsured, the underemployed, and other underserved communities,” said Carlyn Cowen, Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC).

“Mayor Adams is the austerity Mayor. His priorities are to take essential needs from working people and families, and move forward the interests of the rich and the corporations, all while blaming migrants for it,” said Fahd Ahmed, Executive Director at DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving.

“After spending the year slashing budgets for public services, including $469 million in education cuts, Mayor Grinch has decided to end the year by taking one more Grinchly act using the budget modification process to further his cuts to crucial public services like libraries, health, housing, social services, and CUNY. It is clear that plans to slash public services are not rooted in facts, rather an insidious desire to privatize and sell off all of our public services to his billionaire supporters. We need real leadership and courage from our City Council, which is the only check on Mayor Grinch’s power. We call on the City Council to oppose these draconian budget cuts, and demand a budget that invests in people, not police and prisons.” said Smitha Varghese, steering committee member of New Yorkers for Racially Just Public Schools (RJPS).

The People’s Plan is a collective vision for a City that provides dignity, care, and justice for all New Yorkers. It offers the priorities of hundreds of organizers and advocates through a comprehensive, multi-issue roadmap around housing, anti-criminalization, education, economy, climate, transit, and health. The intent of The People’s Plan is to set the agenda for a racially and socially just city and provide a clear people-centered mandate for 2022 and beyond.