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De Blasio Wants $1.5 Billion Cut From NYPD in City Budget

(Gianandrea Villa, Unsplash)

June 30, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to reduce funding to the NYPD by up to $1.5 billion in the city’s 2021 fiscal budget.

The mayor is calling for a $1 billion cut from the NYPD’s operating budget and another $500 million cut in capital funding. The lost capital funds would be reallocated to youth and public housing programs, the mayor said at a press briefing Monday.

The move comes after calls from elected officials and activists to defund the NYPD and implement reforms. The city is also down $9 billion in tax revenue following the COVID-19 economic shutdown and needs to find savings across all agencies.

The city council and the mayor are mandated to pass a budget by the end of Tuesday.

“My office presented a plan to the City Council that would achieve a billion dollars in savings for the NYPD and shift resources to young people, to communities in a way that would help address a lot of the underlying issues that are the cause of so many problems in our society,” the mayor said.

De Blasio said his plan would achieve real reform while keeping the city safe.

The mayor said the proposed cuts were not intended to punish the NYPD, which has been subject to fierce criticism following reports that officers have used unnecessary force against protesters in recent weeks.

The mayor did not reveal how cuts to the NYPD’s operating budget would be made or if there would be a reduction to the force’s roughly 36,000 police officers. De Blasio, however, said the city is looking to cut back on overtime across all of its agencies. Last year, the NYPD paid out $700 million in overtime.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a June 29 press briefing (Mayoral Photography Office)

The mayor also said he was considering school safety being reformed as part of the savings. There are currently more than 5,000 NYPD school safety agents and several elected officials have called for the NYPD to be removed from school security duties.

The move would trim about $450 million from the NYPD budget, according to published reports.

De Blasio outlined a clearer vision of his plans to reallocate $500 million in capital funding which would be taken from the NYPD’s construction and major projects budget.

“We’re going to take that capital money and shift it into creating youth recreation centers and public housing,” he said.

“It will be so important for people and our communities overall,” the mayor said, “and for safety and improving the relationship between police and the community.”

De Blasio said he wants to strike a balance between implementing a police reform agenda while helping young people during a time of crisis.

The proposals were criticized by some Queens elected officials but for different reasons.

Council Member Robert Holden said he was against wholesale cuts without considering the long-term effects of such a move.

“One billion dollars is an arbitrary number that the mayor and some of my colleagues are trying to reach to appease the masses without considering public safety,” Holden told the New York Post.

Conversely, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said he wants a budget that expressly states that the number of NYPD police officers would be reduced.

Van Bramer said that the money saved could be spent on arts and education.

“Lay off some police officers and let’s have an art teacher in every school,” he said.

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