New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Post NYPD faces first major budget cut in decades amid ‘perfect storm’ of factors by Julia Marsh, Nolan Hicks

NYPD faces first major budget cut in decades amid ‘perfect storm’ of factors

The NYPD is facing its first budget cut in at least two decades — thanks to a “perfect storm” of events including “dire economic circumstances,” fallout from the George Floyd killing and calls for reform from the progressive wing of the City Council, experts and insiders said.

“You have the reality that the city is facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, you have the widespread protests, and you have overall crime being down,” former City Councilman and budget negotiator David Greenfield told The Post. “I think that it’s really a perfect storm.”

A council source said the belt-tightening at One Police Plaza is unavoidable.

“I think there’s inevitability to the fact that they’re going to cut the NYPD budget,” the source said. “The fear is it might be significant for the first time in a long time.”

Meanwhile, the City Council’s 21-member progressive caucus is meeting with criminal justice reformers who want $1 billion in cuts this year to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget as a response to charges of police misconduct.

“Many members of the progressive caucus have already come out in favor of #Defund NYPD and we will be taking a formal position as a caucus shortly,” said Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the group’s chair co-chair.

Staten Island Councilman Steven Matteo, the body’s Republican minority leader, opposes ideological cuts but still agreed the NYPD would not be spared because of the city’s $9 billion budget hole.

“Given the dire economic circumstances, we have to look everywhere for savings,” he said, while urging the council to keep an “adequately funded police force.”

He continued: “However, keeping our communities safe is always paramount, and we need an adequately funded police force in this city now as much as ever. We should not do anything that would endanger the historic reductions in crime we have made throughout the five boroughs.”

On Thursday, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is running to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2021, called for the shift of $265 million annually for the next four years away from the department and “toward vulnerable communities most impacted by police violence and structural racism.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) has asked the NYPD for a list of proposed cuts equaling 5 to 7 percent of the agency’s budget, or at least $300 milllion, by Monday after brass offered to eliminate just under 1 percent.

“It is not equitable to propose a 32 percent cut to the Department of Youth and Community Development and less than a 1 percent cut to the NYPD,” said Johnson, another leading mayoral candidate.

The third top mayoral contender, former NYPD cop and current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, also supports the cuts.

“We can identify and pare back bloat in the department without jeopardizing public safety,” Adams told The Post.

“Crime has dropped substantially in recent years, thanks in part to reforms we adopted while I served in the department,” he said.

Meanwhile, Councilman Donavan Richards (D-Queens), chair of the public safety committee, is going through the NYPD budget line by line to identify savings.

He’s zeroed in on “excessive overtime,” canceling this year’s NY Police Academy class, and shifting programs on homelessness, mental health and youth services to other agencies.

Pat Lynch, head of the city’s largest police union, accused elected officials of politicizing the fiscal process.

“The council members pushing NYPD cuts should be honest: This is about their cop-hating agenda, not the city’s bottom line. Any right-thinking council member, whose constituents are rightfully concerned about their safety night after night of looting and riots, would be looking for cuts elsewhere. They need to hold the line,” Lynch said.

None of the last 18 budget deals struck between former Mayor Michael Bloomberg or de Blasio with city lawmakers have ever cut the NYPD budget, a review of records shows.

During a recent City Hall press briefing de Blasio said he opposed the cuts.

“For folks who say defund the police, I would say that is not the way forward,” he insisted.


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