By Michael Gartland
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Gov. Hochul said Monday she’s exploring ways to soften the steep budget cuts to the NYPD that the Adams administration announced last week, while at the same time vowing she won’t raise taxes.
Adams released last Thursday a plan to cut city services across the board — from the number of police officers the NYPD puts on the street to billions of dollars in funding for city schools — in an act of fiscal belt tightening he’s long warned is necessary to absorb the $12 billion he expects to spend on the migrant crisis in the coming years.
“I’m talking to my budget team right now about how we can support the city because the city has to be safe,” Hochul said Monday. “I’ll work with the mayor to make sure that’s accomplished.”
The expected cuts to the NYPD have raised fears that fewer cops on the streets will lead to a spike in crime — something Hochul wants to avoid.
Hochul said she’s in the “early in the stages conversation” about more funding for the NYPD and that she doesn’t “have the answers today.”
“All budget cuts are difficult. I have to continue focusing on the state budget right now to ensure that I have the programs in place to help support local law enforcement, to support the migrants, to support housing, to support mental health, support childcare. We do those programs all over the state of New York.”
She then told reporters that she is “not raising taxes in our budget this year.”
Of the city budget cuts, trimming within the NYPD has prompted significant backlash, with the city expected to reduce the number of cops on the street from more than 33,000 to 29,000 in the coming years. That would amount to the lowest headcount for the department since the 1990’s, according to one top official in Adams’ administration.
The city Department of Education is also facing $2.3 billion in cuts over the next four fiscal years and city libraries are expected to see $23.6 million in additional cuts as part of the mayor’s November budget modification.
In addition, Adams’ administration officials signaled on Monday that they plan to reduce migrant spending significantly in the coming months, as well as services performed by the fire, sanitation and social services departments — cuts that were announced last Thursday.
Hochul, who was in the East Village on Monday to announce the allocation of rental assistance to public housing residents alongside Adams, noted that the state has already been paying NYPD overtime costs associated with assigning additional cops to patrol the transit system, a boost in state funding that’s coincided with a dip in subway crime.
The cuts in headcount to the NYPD will stem in part from the city eliminating police academy classes. Hochul noted on Monday that she moved to expand academy classes for state police last year from two to four.
“I needed them,” she said. “I’m deploying state police in places they’ve never been used before.”
She’s also pointed out that she set aside nearly $2 billion for the city through the state budget to help it pay for the migrant crisis, but Adams and top officials in his administration have long complained that state and federal cash assistance to the city has been woefully inadequate.
On Monday, Hochul suggested that more funding for migrants would be on the way.
“We’re approaching $2 billion for migrants out of the state budget,” she said. “I fully expect there will be additional money to help with the migrant situation in our state budget. Without a doubt there will be assistance there.”