State Watch

De Blasio agrees to cut $1 billion from New York police budget

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is proposing a $1 billion cut to the New York Police Department’s annual budget as calls grow across the nation for local governments to divert funding from law enforcement and put it toward other social services. 

De Blasio said at a press conference Monday that his office presented a budget to City Council over the weekend that would “achieve a billion dollars in savings” for New York police.

He said that the funds will be shifted to programs impacting young people and “communities in a way that would help address a lot of the underlying issues that we know are the cause of so many problems in our society.”

“I am excited to say that we have a plan that can achieve real reform, that can achieve real redistribution, and at the same time ensure that we keep our city safe, and we make sure that our officers are on patrol where we need them around this city,” de Blasio added. 

Calls to defund the police and put government funding toward other social services have gained traction in the weeks since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Mayors in San Francisco and Los Angeles have pledged to cut police budgets, while city councils in places such as Washington, D.C., have passed a slate of reform measures to enhance law enforcement oversight. 

In early June, de Blasio committed to cutting funding for the police and investing the money in youth and social services. He did not pledge a specific figure until this weekend. 

Activists, City Council members and former de Blasio staffers had been calling on the mayor to reduce the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion. The department has annual budget of about $6 billion.

De Blasio announced the cuts as protesters calling for the defunding of police continue a sit-in outside City Hall, according to ABC News. The mayor said that his office’s proposal included $500 million intended to go towards youth centers and New York City Housing Authority developments. 

The money will be shifted from the police department’s capital budget, de Blasio said, adding that “the capital piece is separate from the billion.” 

De Blasio’s proposal also calls for moving schools safety agents, which wear police uniforms, to the Department of Education and canceling a July class of about 1,100 new recruits, Politico noted

“Remember, we’re talking about between the Executive Budget in April and this budget now, billions of dollars of cuts across all our agencies,” de Blasio said, adding that his office is still in negotiations with City Council. He did not say if any department was receiving as much funding cuts as the police.  

The new budget, which will reportedly total about $87 billion, is due Wednesday. The coronavirus pandemic, which hit the city particularly hard in April and May, has cost the city more than $7 billion, according to Politico. 

Tags Bill de Blasio George Floyd

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