NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council are poised to strike a budget deal that includes deep cuts to the NYPD, takes a healthy chunk from the Department of Education, and trims spending across the board.
The voices of anti-police protesters were heard loud and clear at City Hall, where de Blasio reluctantly agreed to a plan to slash $1 billion from the NYPD budget. The mayor, who ran for office as a police reformer but was hesitant to cut police funding in the face of an increase in gun violence, told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer he now believes the cuts can be made without sacrificing safety.
“This has been the toughest budget that we’ve had to do as an administration here at City Hall. We’re in a whole different situation in fact than New York City has ever faced in our history. A health care crisis, an economic crisis, a disparity crisis, a budget crisis all wrapped into one, and on a massive, massive scale,” de Blasio said.
“I have to feel in my heart and soul the city will be safe, you know, I’m very concerned about the uptick in shootings,” he said.
WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Daily Briefing
Sources say the NYPD cut will:
- Reduce the size of the police force from 36,000 to 34,000 through attrition
- Cancel the July police class of 1,100
- Move homeless outreach out of the NYPD
- Reduce the capital budget to provide funds for NYCHA and youth recreation centers
- Move school safety to the Department of Education in stages.
“I think we need to have educators make decisions about young people, not police officers. We have to remember that they’re young and mistakes are often made. But does it rise to the level of giving someone a criminal record when they are so young,” said City Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm.
While almost every agency will get a haircut because the mayor decreases spending by $8 billion, he did agree to approximately $750 million in the Council’s discretionary spending for nonprofits that provide safety net services like food pantries, domestic violence programs and cultural programs.
The Department of Education’s nearly $30 billion budget was in for a $800 million cut.
“Everybody’s going to have to bear the pain of this budget,” Dromm said.
Sources tell CBS2 the DOE cuts will come from various departments within the agency, like professional development, but at this point there are no planned teacher layoffs.
Still, the education cuts didn’t sit well with advocates who charge it will affect the future of minority students.
“It’s insulting for the mayor and the Speaker Corey Johnson to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ in their tweets and to write it on the street and do not put it in the budget,” one protester said.
The mayor says that without help from Washington or Albany, the threat of laying off 22,000 people in the fall could become a reality.
The mayor said that $9 billion in revenue “has evaporated” in the past three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. De Blasio said financial relief from the federal government for cities and states has been “missing in action.” He also said lawmakers in the State Senate in Albany have not acted to grant New York City the ability to undertake its own long-term borrowing as a means of providing relief.
“At some point, if Washington doesn’t act, if Albany doesn’t act, then we end up in a very tough situation,” he said.