Report questions NYC Mayor's proposed budget cuts, costs of migrant influx
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
A new report questions New York City Mayor Eric Adams' latest budget proposal for dealing with the city's influx of over 110,000 migrants. The cost for housing the migrants is the reason Mayor Adams is warning city departments to be prepared to trim 15% from their budgets if state and federal funds are not provided soon. But a report from the Fiscal Policy Institute takes issue with Adams' proposal.
Nathan Gusdorf, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, said a 15% cut would mean $2 billion less for New York City's Department of Education, and just under $1.5 billion for the Department of Social Services, and he questions the timing.
"Needless to say, those are essential agencies that all New Yorkers rely on," he said. "But they're also particularly important in terms of providing services and aid to the migrant population, and helping to move things along and remedy the effects of this. "
The report also questions Adams' estimates of the costs associated with the migrant population. The mayor cites nearly $10 billion for the next two years, but Gusdorf points out that $2.5 billion of that has already been budgeted, leaving a total of $6.5 billion remaining for the coming fiscal years. That is significantly less than the $10 billion annually that Adams' across-the-board cuts would bring.
Gusdorf also noted the cost estimates are based on two projections - continued growth in the number of migrants and "a steady cost per household, per night." The budget estimates $380 per household, per night - roughly what it pays now to house families in hotels across the city.
"You would hope to see sort of more innovative, cost-efficient solutions to housing the migrant population, so that it's not necessary to continue paying those nightly hotel rates every day for the next few years," he continued.
Janay Cauthen, executive director of Families for Freedom - a New York City nonprofit that focuses on migrants and immigrants - agrees. She believes the empty buildings across the City - some of which were foreclosed on during the pandemic - would be a good place to start.
"There's at least three big hotels that went out of business because of the pandemic," she explained. "There's beds there, there's TVs there. These people are human beings. They want to work; they want to provide for their families, but they just shuffle them around. And in New York City, people have the right to shelter."
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