The budget drew AOC’s attention after a group of dissenting progressives who voted against the tax plan claimed the speaker penalized them by withholding discretionary funds they allocate to local causes. On Thursday, Adams said that he allocated money to members’ pet projects, but that he simply didn’t credit them by his name in the budget.
An assignment loss for the Boys & Girls Club in Astoria, requested by dissident Tiffany Cabán, was an “oversight” that would be rectified, he said.
When asked specifically about Ocasio-Cortez, Adams responded, “What I would have hoped … is that if there was ever any misunderstanding, misinformation or anything like that, there would have been enough professional courtesy to pick up the phone and go to the source. “
The same day Adams responded to Ocasio-Cortez, dozens of like-minded politicians and organizations wrote a letter to the speaker piling criticism.
“We are writing to express our deep concerns, anger and disappointment with the FY23 budget process. At a time when our communities are enraged and rightfully frustrated, we ask and hope that this process will be more collaborative and fair in years to come.” says the letter, addressed to Mayor Eric Adams and the Speaker of the Council, both Democrats who are not related. .
Signatories include seven state legislators: State Senators Jabari Brisport, Julia Salazar, and Robert Jackson, and Assemblymembers Jessica González-Rojas, Marcela Mitaynes, Phara Souffrant Forrest, and Zohran Mamdani. The groups that signed include local arms of both the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party, whose leader previously told POLITICO that the mayor should expect a “serious challenge to the left of him” in 2025.
On Monday night, the 51-member Council approved the fledgling mayor’s first spending plan, which goes into effect July 1. Six members disagreed, concerned that he was defrauding public schools and affordable housing while spending too much money on the NYPD.
The mayor and speaker were able to appease some skeptical members by reversing plans to hire 578 correctional officers, a concession the mayor’s team accepted so quickly that some involved in the negotiations privately speculated it was never a serious proposal in the first place. .
The letter echoed the concerns of Council dissidents, specifically around a $215 million cut to the Department of Education’s $31 billion budget, nearly half of which comes directly from city funding.
“We, the undersigned, believe that cuts in school funding pose serious risks to students, teachers, and families, and scheduling a budget vote before full information was available about these cuts was a serious mistake. and dangerous,” the letter says. He goes on to accuse the mayor’s administration of spreading “misinformation” by denying the budget cut.
To that end, the mayor’s team argued that the city is complying with a per-student funding formula, and subsequently released data showing a drop in school enrollment. Budget documents show that the city’s allocation to the public school system was actually increased by nearly $1 billion from last year, but the entire budget, which includes other funding sources, was reduced.
The letter, coordinated by the advocacy group calling itself The People’s Plan, criticized the council president for what the six critics considered a punishment: their names were left out of many of the projects for which they had requested funding from his office. .
“All members should be free to vote in conscience without fear of retaliation by the Speaker of the House or the Mayor,” the letter said.