Mayor Adams Walks Back Budget Cuts, but No Reprieve for Libraries

A few months ago, Mayor Eric Adams called for a number of contentious, anxiety-producing cuts to the New York City budget, slashing funds meant for schools and cultural institutions, among other things.

On Wednesday, the mayor had a different message: Never mind.

Citing better than expected tax revenue and his administration’s fiscal management, Mr. Adams proposed a revised $111.6 billion budget, identifying an additional $2.3 billion that would restore some of the more worrisome cuts.

The mayor’s reversal earned praise from organizations dependent on city funding, even as it fed criticism that his budgeting practices were opaque, overly conservative and detrimental to governance.

The City Council, Independent Budget Office and city comptroller have maintained for months that Mr. Adams’s fiscal projections were incorrect, and did not account for better than expected revenue projections. Based on the mayor’s numbers, his administration saw the need to make cuts to libraries and schools.

“We’re pleased with the restorations, but we maintain blunt cuts weren’t necessary in the first place,” said Justin Brannan, a councilman who represents southern Brooklyn and is the chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee. “The chaos and stress those proposed cuts caused were very real.”

Mr. Adams saw things differently, praising his administration’s fiscal prudence in light of the influx of roughly 190,000 migrants and asylum seekers to the city. He said efforts to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in costs related to migrants allowed the city to use that money to fund its priorities, including affordable housing, child care and hiring more police officers, without resorting to more drastic measures such as tax increases or layoffs.

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