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April 16, 2020
Today Mayor de Blasio released the City’s Executive Budget for fiscal year 2021. The budget reveals in stark terms the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the actions taken by the City administration to prioritize the health, safety and food access of all New Yorkers while addressing a $6 billion budget deficit. The Executive Budget puts forward a combination of actions to present a balanced budget for 2021 including drawing on City reserve funds, backfilling over $800 million in State budget cuts, and laying out the expectation of $3.5 billion in new expenditures to respond to COVID-19. The proposed budget also includes $2 billion in reductions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to public attention poverty, hunger, poor health, and housing instability in the lives of children and families throughout the city, but most especially in communities of color and immigrant-led households. As the City budget process proceeds, it is critical that we assist the City in efforts to secure the resources needed to get parents and caregivers back to work, children back to school; promote housing stability, food security; and ensure that caregivers and their children have access to the supports and programming needed to overcome trauma and promote their health and well-being. These resources will play a fundamental role in determining whether the health and human service sectors can effectively respond to immediate needs as well as promote recovery.
Among the areas of the proposed budget that are deeply impacted by cuts, education and youth services are hit particularly hard with the proposed cancellation of all programming for youth this summer. We fear that these cuts will make the road to recovery harder for New York children and their families. As parents seeking to get back to work will not only need child care options for younger children, but youth will need access to programming that supports their social and emotional well-being. And children of all ages will need significant support to overcome both learning loss and the exacerbation of educational inequities. Furthermore, as children and families grapple with trauma and loss created by this pandemic, the need to expand access to behavioral health supports will become ever more pressing. Similarly, to avoid a surge in family homelessness, additional investments will be needed in community-based prevention to keep families housed and out of the shelter system.
We recognize the enormous challenges facing the City in light of the limited reach of recent Federal stimulus, the impact of State budget cost shifts and reductions, and as the City’s economy continues to suffer. We stand ready to support the City administration and the City Council in their advocacy with State and Federal leaders. We will do everything in our power to ensure that 1.7 million New York City children and their families have the supports and services needed not just to survive and recover, but to thrive following this pandemic.