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After Months of Austerity, Mayor Adams Finally Admits NYC Has Money

And more news for your Thursday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams at City Hall on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. (Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office)

What do you do if you're facing historic disapproval ratings that stem in no small part from draconian budget cuts you've pushed through that have decimated the City's social services?

If you're Mayor Eric Adams, you pivot and walk some of those cuts back, despite months of blaming migrants for the need to slash essential services. On Wednesday, the mayor announced that additional across-the-board spending cuts planned for April would be canceled, and that the City's hiring freeze would be lifted (kind of—for every two vacancies, agencies can now fill one of them). This bit of moderately cheery news comes after he announced last month that he was restoring a small amount of funding (that he had cut) to several agencies and programs, and unveiled a preliminary budget for the next year that, as Politico noted, "revised revenue projections upward by a stunning $3 billion."

Adams took credit for reversing cuts that he himself had pushed for. "The combination of our tough, but necessary financial management decisions, including cutting asylum seeker spending by billions of dollars, along with better-than-expected economic performance in 2023, is allowing us to cancel the last round of spending cuts, as well as lift the near total freezes on city hiring and other than personal spending," Adams wrote in a statement. 

But was any of this budget whiplash necessary? The City Council and budget forecasters like the Independent Budget Office have claimed for months that City Hall was wildly underestimating projected revenue, as well as overestimating the costs of housing migrants. I guess they were right! And beyond the question of whether slashing services was even needed, now claiming a surprise boost in revenue doesn't exactly bolster Adams's argument that the City needs more funding from the state, as well as from the feds.

In a statement, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and the council's Finance Chair Justin Brannan wrote that they were "relieved." "As the Council's economists forecasted, New York City's economy has proven durable and resilient, and blunt cuts that had a disproportionately negative impact on vital programs were never necessary," they wrote. They added, "We look forward to negotiating in good faith a budget that delivers for all New Yorkers."

And links that will absolutely deliver for all New Yorkers:

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