Mayor Bill de Blasio is treating practically $6 billion in federal stimulus cash meant to bailout a pandemic-stricken metropolis like a windfall — blowing tens of thousands and thousands at a shot on big-government investments the town can’t afford and doesn’t want, critics say.
“He’s spending like a drunken sailor and leaving it to the next mayor to be sober,” mentioned Carol Kellermann, former president of the unbiased fiscal watchdog the Citizens Budget Commission.
Indeed, a lot of de Blasio’s each day press briefings for the reason that taxpayer-funded aid cash was first introduced over a month in the past has included such new spending as $234 million for a cleanup corps — whose mandate to comb the streets is strikingly just like the job of sanitation staff — and even $37 million to rent much more authorities staff.
The mayor’s extra frequent smile throughout these briefings could also be partially attributed to the Biden administration giving the term-limited de Blasio a digital clean verify to spend $3 billion in unrestricted American Rescue Plan funds throughout his final six months in workplace. The remaining $3 billion in unrestricted funds have to be spent after May 2022 when the town could have a brand new mayor.
The metropolis acquired $4.3 billion of the funds Monday plus one other $1.7 billion for the boroughs. Another $9 billion coming to the Big Apple is earmarked for particular functions like training and controlling the coronavirus. In all, the Big Apple will ultimately see $15 billion from Uncle Sam.
City Hall couldn’t instantly present a full breakdown of the place all of the stimulus funds will go, however Andrew Rein, Kellermann’s successor at CBC, mentioned that disclosure is vital.
“Transparent reporting on the use of federal aid is essential for accountability,” mentioned Rein, who’s cautious about de Blasio utilizing short-term stimulus funds for everlasting tasks and to spur employment.
For instance, he notes the $61 million de Blasio has pledged yearly to extend overhead for city-affiliated nonprofits.
“This is a good thing nonprofits needed but I don’t know what will happen four years from now,” Rein mentioned, explaining that the funds ought to come from metropolis coffers, not a one-time money injection from Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, de Blasio modeled the brand new City Cleanup Corps after a “New Deal-style” program to place 10,000 New Yorkers to work making the town “cleaner and greener.” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who’s a front-running candidate to interchange de Blasio, has said he’d disband the corps if elected as a result of “we already have a Sanitation Department.”
The Biden stimulus funds will even reverse what Hizzoner claimed was needed belt-tightening in the course of the pandemic, with the mayor taking $21 million from Uncle Sam to repay municipal staff furloughed for one week final 12 months.
Rein mentioned City Hall must be decreasing its 325,000-person workforce not rising it by 5,000 individuals — a brand new finances merchandise made attainable by the American Recovery Act that may price the town $37 million yearly. The workforce has ballooned by over 30,000 individuals throughout de Blasio’s tenure.
The mayor will even dip into the federal cash to construct a long-planned, $105 million police precinct in southeast Queens that was cut last year — to not meet a finances however to fulfill the calls for of ‘Defund the NYPD’ activists.
In the final a number of weeks the American Rescue Plan has gave the impression to be de Blasio’s reply to almost all the town’s woes.
The struggling theater business?
“I think you’re right, the federal aid is crucial,” the mayor mentioned throughout an April 28 each day press briefing when requested if stimulus funds can be used to revive Broadway.
Illegal immigrants who weren’t eligible for pandemic aid?
Well 500,000 “undocumented New Yorkers here in this city … contribute a lot to the city, who are part of our economy, ” de Blasio mentioned at an April 8 press convention.
They ought to get stimulus cash as a result of “it’s the right thing to do,” de Blasio mentioned.
“We need to spend every dollar wisely to emerge from the pandemic,” mentioned City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens).
“But the mayor still hasn’t broken his habit of spending like a drunken sailor on items that don’t help New Yorkers,” Holden added.
This 12 months’s remaining finances proposal is the biggest in metropolis historical past. At $98.6 billion, the plan is over $10 billion greater than the spending whole only a 12 months in the past.
Groups like the CBC have criticized de Blasio’s plan for saddling his successor with deficits of practically $4 billion — a determine that grows to virtually $5 billion until the town scores main concessions from its labor unions.
Asked in regards to the mayor’s shop-a-holic penchant in terms of the federal bailout cash, spokesman Bill Neidhardt mentioned: “There is an unemployment crisis and Mayor de Blasio has directly created 10,000 jobs to beautify New York City. That’s leadership in a time of crisis.”