Op Ed | Create a safer, more prosperous, more just New York City with the budget

Each year, the mayor presents a budget to the residents of New York City. This budget is about much more than what we spend and what we spend it on. It is a statement of values ​​and a statement of intent: to create a safer, more prosperous and more just city for all.

This is the city that continues to enable our responsible and focused FY2024 preliminary budget.

Fiscal discipline has been the hallmark of this administration since day one. We focus on governing efficiently and delivering results. In the past year we have made our city safer and continued our economic boom. We have funded and will continue to fund programs that benefit New Yorkers every day — including public safety, affordable housing and clean streets.

It can be tempting to add a series of new editions and surely many will demand that we go beyond our means. But we cannot jeopardize the future of our city by overexerting ourselves today. It will only force deeper cuts and greater pain down the line.

With lower tax revenues, rising healthcare costs, and the ongoing crisis of asylum seekers busted into New York City, we must proceed with caution and clarity. And thanks to strong financial management, we’ve saved $3 billion this fiscal year and next. And we’ve accomplished this without firing a single employee or reducing services, especially when it comes to the NYPD and public safety.

I’m proud that despite the many challenges I’ve mentioned, our budget secures funding for the transformative programs we introduced over the past year, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, which directly benefits working families, the largest summer jobs program in city history and violence prevention programs for communities hardest hit by the gun violence epidemic. And we’re waiting no longer to invest in the housing our city needs, beginning in Willets Point, where we’ll transform the neighborhood with thousands of affordable homes and a world-class soccer stadium.

We have also continued to invest in our students and schools. These include more resources for students with disabilities, literacy and dyslexia screenings, summer enrichment, healthy eating, career paths, and the gifted and talented programs.

Even as federal stimulus funds run out, we have maintained funding per student at higher levels than before the pandemic and added an additional $80 million to that funding pool for fiscal 2024. That leaves the total for another academic year at $160 million. We’ve also been able to increase the capital our city uses to build and maintain the infrastructure we all depend on, including affordable housing, healthcare facilities, parks and other public spaces.

And as every New Yorker knows, it’s important to be prepared for change. Whether new employment contracts, asylum seeker costs or the next unexpected event – the bills are due.

For this reason, this preliminary budget has $8.3 billion in reserves, an amount that allows us to respond effectively to any unforeseen event. Our disciplined and efficient budget protects us and allows us to continue to provide the essential services New Yorkers rely on.

This is just the beginning of a process and we look forward to working with our congregations and fellow councilors on the final budget. There may be those who say that we should do things differently, that we should expand further, save less and spend more. But as mayor, the goat stops with me. It is my responsibility to keep our city strong and resilient, ready for whatever lies ahead.

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