Mayor Eric Adams is in hot water this holiday season over a letter he crafted that calls for 50% cuts to City Council grants for nonprofit organizations.

City agencies were told to reduce spending by 3% back in September under the eliminate-the-gap (PEG) program to reach specific goals in the city’s financial plan. The financial plan totals $5.55 billion in savings over the next four years. The comptroller’s office concluded that the PEG programs “are an essential part of addressing the city’s sizable budget gaps” but warned against “calls for a broad 50% reduction” to the city’s agencies.

Then, on Dec. 20, Adams sent a letter about the strenuous impact of asylum seeker funding on the city’s budget and financial plan. Adams asked that the city council “voluntarily” cut 50% of their expense discretionary spending. He cited that the city has spent more than $250 million handling the migrant crisis and projected that $1 billion will be spent in the future.

“I know that you and your members share a deep concern for the wellbeing of asylum seekers, the needs of your constituents, and the city’s long term financial strength,” wrote Adams.

The City Council, in the middle of oversight hearings on the migrant crisis, in a statement said that the letter asking for cuts was “never delivered” and scoffed that Adams would reference it in an interview with the New York Post editorial board before making it known to the Council. 

“The Council has received no such letter from the administration,” said a City Council spokesperson. “It’s disappointing that the mayor’s word on a budget agreement seems to have decreasing value and he is attempting to renegotiate via the New York Post editorial board.”

They said that numerous non-profit organizations were “filling the gaps of essential work” and aiding asylum seekers without reimbursement. They claimed the mayor was “starving” city agencies of staff and resources and now wants to take funding away from crucial nonprofits. Councilmembers such as Tiffany Cabán, Crystal Hudson, Amanda Farías and Farah Louis all chimed in to denounce the proposed cuts.

“For years, the New York City Council has provided grants to support non-profit service providers that serve as lifelines to communities of color. The mayor’s request to slash these resources for communities by 50% is counterproductive and would only harm the health and safety of Black and brown New Yorkers. This approach would not only further shortchange Black, Latino and Asian communities, but severely hemorrhage the capacity and capability of these organizations to provide adequate and meaningful services that our communities rely on,” said a joint statement from the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. 

Additionally, some groups are also upset about cuts proposed to funding for libraries, education, housing and other social services while Adams seems set to continue investing in policing.

“While cutting critical services and destabilizing New Yorkers’ health and lives, the Budget Modification protects and preserves the NYPD’s bloated budget from financial and personnel cuts, effectively increasing criminalization of the people the mayor is neglecting to serve and support,” said Communities United for Police Reform spokesperson Obi Afriyie. “During his first year in office, the mayor has consistently positioned the NYPD to respond to public health and safety issues that stem from underinvestment in housing, health and education, which the NYPD is not qualified to address.”

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting:

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