Left-leaning Dems say $101 billion city budget shortchanges students, homeless

Left-leaning Dems say $101 billion city budget shortchanges students, homeless

The Council leadership’s response to its left-leaning members has also generated backlash. As City & State first reported, those who spoke out against the budget were left out of a $41 million pot of discretionary funds distributed by Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.

The reportedly punitive cuts to a Boys & Girls club drew the ire of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted on Tuesday, “I’ve seen a lot of shameful behavior from leadership, but cutting programs for underprivileged kids to score a point? Unbelievable.”

Mandela Jones, a spokesperson for Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, disputed that there was any retaliation involved. But he acknowledged that those who voted against the budget had their names pulled from a list of discretionary awards – even if their districts continued to receive funding.

“In the past, people would actually pull the funding,” Jones said. “We’re just pulling people’s names off the document.”

Both the mayor and council speaker issued separate statements, saying they would increase school funding in the fall should student enrollment rebound. But complicating matters is a mandate from the state Legislature for New York City to shrink class sizes — a development long sought by education advocates and the teachers’ union that came as part of an Albany deal to extend mayoral control of schools.

The mayor opposes the measure, citing the cost of meeting such a goal, which would reduce class sizes for younger students from 25 to 20. Gov. Kathy Hochul — who supported Adams’ request for mayoral control — has yet to sign the legislation.

City lawmakers who supported the budget argued that the plan achieved the goals of balancing public safety with spending in lower-income communities that historically lacked sufficient public investment. The budget also sets aside $1.3 billion in reserves, enabled by better than expected personal income tax revenues.

But six progressive Council members went against the majority vote: Tiffany Cabán, Alexa Avilés, Charles Barron, Sandy Nurse, Chi Osse, and Kristin Richardson Jordan

Cabán, a Council member from Queens and democratic socialist, said the budget did little to further reduce the NYPD budget to offset education cuts.

“It contains big cuts to our public schools, disproportionately affecting schools in low-income communities of color, which have been long underfunded and overcrowded,” Caban said. “It keeps our current, bloated levels of funding for policing and incarceration intact.”

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