February 26, 2022
On February 16, 2022 Mayor Eric Adams released a $98.5 billion Preliminary Budget for City Fiscal Year 2023. The City’s Preliminary Budget included $866 million in savings for FY22 and $1.1 billion in FY23 from a Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG). These savings are largely achieved through agency efficiencies and reduced staffing headcounts.
Mayor Adams’ preliminary budget includes a number of important investments to support New York City’s young people and lift incomes for families. By committing to deepen the New York City Earned Income Tax Credit, make permanent 100,000 Summer Youth Employment Program jobs for city youth, and invest $75 million in the Fair Fares program to help make transportation affordable for low-income families, the Mayor’s preliminary budget takes steps in the right direction. We also applaud the Mayor for committing to reducing maternal deaths, investing in home visits and referral services for first-time mothers in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as baselining funding for Fair Futures to offer young people in foster care a fair shot at success.
Unfortunately, some glaring gaps remain in the Mayor’s budget, as it fails to address some of the most pressing issues facing New York families.
The Preliminary Budget fails to build a truly universal birth to five early care and education system nor does it offer year-round youth services. The budget fails to address the dearth of affordable infant and toddler care and the lack of extended-day/extended-year seats in 3K and UPK programs, expand year-round youth services for school-age children, or invest in summer camps. Additionally, the budget makes unnecessary cuts to needed services, citing under- enrollment in programs. In many areas, this under-enrollment is a result of challenges caused by the pandemic, not by a lack of interest in or need by youth, families, and communities. For instance, the Comprehensive After School System of New York City (COMPASS) funding has been reduced by $15.2 million, even though it is imperative to provide opportunities and engagement to young people to support pandemic recovery and build out networks of care.
The Department of Education also proposed $57 million decrease in Central Offices funding, including salaries and professional development, and a $375 million decrease in funding due to enrollment changes, resulting in a hiring freeze and cutting over 3,600 vacant positions. These cuts are concerning because they come at a time when the education sector struggles to recover from a crushing pandemic, and they risk creating new barriers for schools to support students.
Significant reductions in staffing proposed at Housing Preservation and Development, as well as the Department of Homeless Services, contradict the Mayor’s promised commitment to prioritizing the city’s housing insecurity and homelessness crisis. While campaigning, Mayor Adams pledged to invest $4 billion in supportive and affordable housing infrastructure, yet his preliminary budget failed to mention any such investments, in fact, it proposed a significant cut to the housing capital budget. And sadly, the Preliminary Budget also fails to invest in homeless prevention and after-care services, as well as in-shelter educational supports to better address the needs of families and children at risk of or who are experiencing homelessness.
Furthermore, as children and families are still struggling with immense grief and trauma from the loss of loved ones, heightened economic, housing and food insecurity, ongoing social isolation, and disruption in education and developmental supports, behavioral health needs have skyrocketed. Yet the Preliminary Budget fails to make robust investments in behavioral health services in communities and schools to ensure that child and adolescent health and wellbeing are prioritized.
Finally, we are deeply concerned about the potential harm to our youth and communities resulting from over-policing, particularly for Black and brown communities that have been disproportionately affected by historically racist policies and related criminalization. We believe the path towards combatting gun violence is to invest in the resources and services that support and uplift youth and families, such as employment, sports, and arts, in tandem with community driven anti-violence and other programming, such as violence interrupters and the partnership between communities and hospitals. However, the Preliminary Budget reduces funding for essential departments; for instance, the capital budget for the Parks Department has been dramatically reduced, even though we know the positive benefits of green spaces on youth development and community wellbeing. At the same time, the capital budget for city jails as well as the police budget both increased. It is essential we invest in youth, opportunities, and communities. We are eager to work with the administration to strengthen these types of supports for our communities.
Our city is currently at an inflection point. Now more than ever, we must support New York City children and youth and ensure families have the resources they need to recover and thrive. We stand ready to help the Mayor and his administration deliver the support New York City families desperately need.