Mayor Eric Adams testifies on state budget in Albany

Mayor Eric Adams has told a joint legislative budget committee in Albany Wednesday that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget could harm New York City financially and the city will need more money from the state.
Adams discussed his priorities in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget, which includes striking some proposed cost burdens to the city.

Hochul wants the city to pony up an additional $500 million per year to help fund the beleaguered MTA. Ridership dropped off significantly during the pandemic and has yet to fully recover.
“The state is going to put $300 million in [a] onetime shot for one year. We are being told to add a half a billion dollars on our budget for eternity,” Adams said. “That is just unfair. No other municipality is being asked to do this.”

Adams also offered a word of caution about Hochul’s plan to lift the regional charter school cap, which would result in more charter schools for New York City.
He previously expressed support for charters, including so-called zombie charters, that were approved but never constituted.
According to the mayor, new charters could cost the city more than a billion dollars per year.
“I clearly talked about what’s called zombie charters,” he said. “These charters that are open, working. There is no reason we are not filling them. We have already allocated numbers. There is no reason we are not. That comes with a cost. And the state should assist in that cost.”
Adams is seeking changes to criminal justice reforms as part of the budget. But in a stark admission, he said he went about that the wrong way last year by focusing too much on bail reform.
“I am not going to make that mistake we made last year of just focusing on one aspect of it. There is more to it,” Adams said.

In the middle of the hearing, it was learned that the state Senate would hold a vote on Hochul’s controversial nominee for chief judge.
It led to a bit of a premature exodus from the room.
“Thank you. I believe I am the last senator,” said Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan. “So, welcome to Albany again, Mr. Mayor.”
The mayor joked about the judge stealing his thunder.
“I personally believe it got short because many of them just believe I’m doing a great job in the city. And many of them just believe there is no reason to keep questioning me,” Adams said.
During his testimony, he also strongly endorsed a bill, which has not yet to be passed the legislature, in Albany that would establish Diwali as a holiday in the city’s public schools.

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