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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

City budget hit hard by COVID-19 crisis

Director, DC 37 Political Action Department

As if COVID-19 didn’t hit us hard enough, we now are faced with a budget that eliminates some of the most valuable programs and jobs in New York City. On April 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio released his Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget.

The $89.3 billion proposed budget is $6 billion less than the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 preliminary budget of $95.3 billion released back in January.

The reduced spending is due to a $7.4 billion revenue loss the city projects for the current and following fiscal years. In addition, the city will draw down money from its reserves to help buffer the loss of tax revenue while continuing to save lives and maintain critical functions. The mayor prioritizes his budget in the following areas: protecting health, safety, access to food and shelter.

New costs in the budget include:

  • Medical costs for the hospital system, medical personnel, and procuring medical equipment.
  • Food costs of $170 million in new spending for individuals and families who are food insecure.
  • The administration has also implemented a $2 billion Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG). Some of the cuts will impact the following programs:
  • Delay in 3K expansion in Districts 1, 12, 14, and 29.
  • Temporary suspension of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
  • Adjusting spending to the Right to Counsel Program for tenants.
  • Rightsizing the Job Training Program (JTP)
  • Delay the hiring of non-safety civilians in NYPD.
  • Attriting 100 Traffic Enforcement Agent positions dedicated to intersection control.
  • Reducing overnight Staten Island ferry service due to reduced demand.
  • Delays in seasonal hiring in the Parks Department.
  • Closing all outdoor pools for the 2020 summer season.

The City is also faced with an additional burden — an $800 million cut in state aid imposed with the passage of the state budget. These cuts include a shortfall in education aid, cuts to financial assistance for families in need (TANF), and an additional contribution to the MTA’s Access-A-Ride program.

In addition, the city has implemented a hiring freeze and vacancy reduction throughout multiple city agencies. DC 37’s leadership is engaged in ongoing discussions with the administration and has reached an agreement to no layoffs and furloughs to our membership.

“The union recognizes the hard work and sacrifice our members are making every single day as frontline and essential workers. We want to say thank you for all you do and we will continue to fight for you,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.