Your current web browser is outdated. For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version.
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
search DONATE
Close Nav

MI Responds: Mayor Adams’ Preliminary Budget

back to top

MI Responds: Mayor Adams’ Preliminary Budget

February 16, 2022

Manhattan Institute Scholars Comment on Mayor Adams’ Preliminary Budget

Mayor Eric Adams' inaugural 2023 budget, with an expected $75.2 billion in funding that comes from city resources (as opposed to federal and state resources), represents a two percent increase in spending over this year's levels, well below inflation. The mayor clearly intends to keep control over spending, but yet he has not demonstrated in detail how he will do that, and, in fact, some of the mayor's proposals could result in the opposite, including eliminating a plan to achieve $500 million a year in labor savings. New Yorkers must await further detail to see how and if the mayor can achieve his goal of fiscal responsibility.

Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal.

Today’s jobs crisis may well determine the course of Mayor Eric Adams’ budget and his tenure. The city’s job market is not expected to recover until 2025, according to the mayor. This long road to recovery is in part due to the absence of white-collar workers from New York offices. Empty workplaces also mean emptier coffers of property tax revenue. By contrast, the presence of white-collar workers—along with tourists—is part of a virtuous cycle benefiting small businesses and their workers as well as the city’s budget. We’re not out of the woods yet.

That is why it is significant that Mayor Adams has chosen to prioritize shoring up the city’s finances while clearing impediments to businesses and families from more in-person work. Safety should be a top priority not just for commuters and visitors, but for residents worried about crime in their own neighborhood. And with aid dollars still available to the city, the mayor should consider ways to reduce long-term liabilities and reform any “business as usual” practices that stand in the way of the mayor’s goal of “getting stuff done.”

Michael Hendrix is a senior fellow and director of state and local policy at the Manhattan Institute.

Mayor Eric Adams strikes the right opening chord in his "radically practical" proposal to slow the growth of city expenditures through technologically-driven efficiencies across agencies. The preliminary budget plans to decrease overall spending modestly and employ 7,000 fewer employees in FY 2023. This signals a welcome first step toward fiscal responsibility after Mayor Bill de Blasio's years of swelling expenses. While the city's rainy-day reserves remain worryingly underfunded, the synergies Mayor Adams has begun to unlock through the Program to Eliminate the Gap should continue to free up capital for future emergencies. Reforms can simultaneously cut costs and bring NYC’s government up to speed with its peers and the private sector. There's no reason why the world's leading city should employ lagging technology and an outdated bureaucracy.

John Ketcham is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Mayor Eric Adams' City Fiscal Year (CFY) 2023 Preliminary Budget features the return of the Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG)—a practice used by mayors from Ed Koch to Michael Bloomberg to ask agencies to find efficiencies and not just ask for new spending. Savings of $829 million in the current CFY 2022 and $1.06 billion in CFY 2023, which begins July 1, would offset Adams' proposed new spending. Moreover, PEG cuts are achieved by eliminating vacancies, reducing the number of city employees. If these staffing cuts are sustained, the city will spend less on pensions and retiree health care in the long term. The city also benefits from higher-than-expected tax revenues, which combined with the PEG cuts permits it to close most of the CFY 2023 budget gap projected by Mayor Bill de Blasio in November 2021 with $2.8 billion in CFY 2022 surplus funds.

Some clouds exist in the relatively sunny horizon projected by Adams. He eliminates $500 million in unspecified labor savings de Blasio included in the November 2021 financial plan; unfortunately many are skeptical this will be achieved. Moreover, Adams, like de Blasio, is counting on a sharp recovery of city tax revenues to offset diminishing federal pandemic aid. That's been a good bet thus far, but many uncertainties exist in the national and international picture that could upend those assumptions.

Eric Kober is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Mayor Eric Adams' proposed expansion of New York's Summer Youth Employment Program, already the nation's largest, would be a step in the right direction. High-quality research shows these programs are a cost-efficient way to control crime without more incarceration. But, as I recently noted in the Wall Street Journal, there's still much we don't know about why these programs reduce crime, or which participants they most benefit. The Mayor should commit some of these funds to studying how New York's SYEP works, so that an already effective program can deliver the most crime-fighting bang for its buck.

Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal.

Photo by ChristianChan/iStock