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April 1, 2020
On April 16, 2020, Mayor de Blasio released his $89.3 billion Executive Budget for City Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1, 2020 and runs through June 30, 2021.
The City’s Executive Budget was released amid unprecedented challenges facing our city and our state due to COVID-19. We appreciate the actions taken by Mayor de Blasio to prioritize the health, safety, and food access of all New Yorkers during this crisis, all while confronting a $6 billion budget deficit and a projected $7.4 billion loss in tax revenue. This deficit is addressed through a combination of City reserve funds, as well as $2 billion in reductions in FY21. In spite of this deficit, the Mayor has committed to spending over $3.5 billion to support COVID-19-related expenses, as well as approximately $800 million to cover cost-shifts from the state in areas of public health, child welfare, and education.
Proposed reductions in the Executive Budget include over $470 million in cuts to the Department of Education’s (DOE) budget in FY21, with the largest single cut coming to the Fair Student Funding Formula, the funding stream that comprises the majority of individual school budgets. In addition, the Executive Budget rolls back arts, health education, and college access programming, while also instituting a system-wide hiring freeze. These cuts will make it harder for the DOE to support students who will fall behind during this period of remote learning.
The budget also proposes to cancel all summer programs, including the Summer Youth Employment Program, summer COMPASS and SONYC programs, and summer programs run through Beacons and Cornerstones, leaving at least 140,000 children across the City with no options for this summer. Youth services may present a challenge if social distancing guidelines are still in effect this summer, but these programs will be vital to the City’s COVID-19 recovery plan, to help address children’s trauma, to help parents get back to work, and to help recoup learning loss from the fragmented school year.
Additionally, the State’s decision to cut reimbursement for NYC’s Article 6 public health program leaves the city’s public health infrastructure in jeopardy if the city does not once again fill this budget hole for community-based providers. The city budget also includes reductions to nonprofit contracts, which may make it harder for – programs to remain open and serve communities most in need.
The Executive budget adds new funding for initiatives that impact children and families, including a $3.8 million expansion in the current year for NYC Well, the city’s 24/7 hotline that provides free, confidential mental health supports. The other primary areas of added investments are to cover cuts and cost-shifts resulting from the state budget, for schools and TANF-related services such as shelters and preventive services. Mayor de Blasio has also committed to funding an additional $170 million to combat food insecurity.
We recognize the enormous challenge facing the City in light of COVID -19 pandemic and the economic downturn, as well as due to inadequate investments from the State and the federal government. We stand ready to support the City in advocating with State and Federal leaders to ensure New York City and our families and communities receive the supports so desperately needed. Those families hardest hit by COVID-19 are the same families that will suffer the most from cuts to city programs. We look forward to working with the Mayor and City Council to strengthen the educational, youth, housing, health and behavioral health services that will be the foundation for recovery.