Do you want to solve the budget crisis, Mayor Adams? Stop uncontrolled immigrant spending

New York City does not have a budget crisis. You have the crisis of a mayor who has no idea how to budget and who thinks that everything – including what should be a dry, routine mid-year budget update – is just another opportunity to try to squeeze money out of Washington for the immigrants.

It’s getting to the point where no one should take anything he says seriously, except that the risk his mismanagement poses to New York City is serious.

This week, Adams got the headlines he wanted with his November update for the current fiscal year, which began July 1. The mayor projects a budget of $8.9 billion. deficit for next summer, up from an estimate of $5.1 billion in June.

“Eric Adams cuts budgets for police, libraries and schools,” the Times wrote.

As agencies will have to cut $1.8 billion, the number of police officers will fall to fewer than 30,000 from more than 34,000 today, a low not seen since 1993. The streets will be dirtier as sanitation workers empty litter boxes less frequently. Children will not be able to visit libraries on Sundays.

and even after After these cuts, the budget deficit remains at $7.1 billion.

Wealthier New Yorkers will have to donate more to charities, on top of the high taxes they already pay for basic public services. “I’m going to need you more than ever to support… organizations like [the Police Athletic League], Robin Hood Foundation and others, the Boys and Girl Scouts. “This is a time when we must all get to work,” Adams implored.

And all because of evil old Joe Biden, who won’t give us money to house 65,000 immigrants.

“The national government must do its part,” the mayor also said on Friday. “This is a national problem. It’s not a New York City problem…. “The national government should pick up the tab and it shouldn’t come off the backs of ordinary New Yorkers.”

The only new crisis, however, is the one the mayor is brewing.

Before this week, in all of New York City’s modern history since our recovery from our 1975 near-bankruptcy, the only mid-year budget crises that arose were the result of external shocks that occurred between the June budget agreement and the November Fall Update. – unforeseen shocks that ruined tax revenues.

Those shocks included: the stock market crash of 1987. September 11. The financial crisis of 2008.

This time, tax revenues – at least for the moment – ​​are fine. For the current fiscal year, they are arriving 800 million dollars more than expected. Next fiscal year, they will get $600 million more than projected.

He only What has changed in four and a half months, between June and now, to make this budget a disaster is Adams’ projection of immigrant spending.

In June, the city projected $2.9 billion in “asylum seeker” costs for the current fiscal year, and another $1 billion for the fiscal year that begins next summer.

Shortly after the budget was enacted, the mayor informally He warned New Yorkers that immigrants could cost up to $4 billion a year for three years.

Now, the mayor is ruining these projections. Immigrants will cost a extra 1.3 billion dollars this year, for a total of 4.2 billion dollars, 44% more than the June budget. Immigrants will cost an additional $4.8 billion (!) for the next fiscal year—a whopping nearly five-fold increase from the June projection, for a total of $5.8 billion in new spending that year.

In total, there are 10,000 million dollars worth of immigrants over just two fiscal years, not three, more than double the mayor’s official estimate of $3.9 billion for these two years in the June budget.

The mayor should have known all of this in June and included it in his June budget.

Nothing has changed, in terms of immigrants, since June. At that time50,000 immigrants We were in the shelter of the city, and it went up, up, up. Today, the number has reached 65,000.

This is not a surprise and the mayor should have addressed it fairly in June.

In the absence of a credible explanation from the city council as to why the figures have changed so much in just a few months, when no facts on the ground have changed, the only conclusion is: either the June budget it sent to the city council and, later, to the state…running the Financial Control Board for approval was essentially a fantasy, or this The budget update is a fantasy. Choose your option.

The mayor believes his warnings of apocalyptic doom will prompt Biden to send us billions. They will not; Biden doesn’t care.

One measure of how Adams doesn’t even take himself seriously is his proposal to reduce police to Dinkins-era levels and cut library hours and trash collection. The mayor knows well that New York’s taxpaying population base is more fragile than it has been in three decades, and that any further decline in public safety and services will cause more middle-class and lower-income people to flee. high.

To save a few cents in the short term: your cancellation of new classes at the police academy would save less than three hundred million dollars next year. Reducing garbage collection will save… five million dollars. Reductions in library hours barely reach $20 million a year.

The mayor wants to scare Biden, but he’s only scaring the people he needs to stay here and pay their taxes.

He can solve his entire new budget crisis himself right now: put a firm limit on the amount of money New York will spend on immigrants (keep it at the levels he set in the June budget, even though it was already too high) and do it now. The crisis is over.

Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.

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