NYC Budget: Talks in ‘holding pattern’ as June 30 deadline looms, Speaker Adams says

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams talks NYC budget
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.
Credit John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Thursday that negotiations over the nearly due city budget are in a “holding pattern” — co-opting Mayor Eric Adams’ frequent description of the spending plan as a plane he will land.

The speaker’s comments indicated that negotiations over the city budget are at a stalemate with a little over a week before the mayor and City Council must agree on a Fiscal Year 2025 spending plan, which is due by a June 30 deadline.

She made the remarks in response to a question about what the process for a late city budget would look like, using the mayor’s common refrain about budget talks that they will “land the plane.”

“From a council perspective, I will say this, we have banked left, we’re in a holding pattern, we’re circling the airport and if possible, there will be a diversion,” the speaker, who is a former flight attendant, said.

Speaker Adams did not indicate whether or not she thinks the budget will be late, instead saying “our goal” is to pass the spending plan on time. Her comments came amid reports there is growing anxiety among council leaders that they will blow past their budget deadline due to an impasse over several areas where the council is hoping to restore funding cut by the mayor.

If a budget is not passed by the June 30 deadline, the latest proposed financial plan would go into effect, according to the speaker’s office. That would be the mayor’s $111.6 billion executive budget that he proposed in late April. But there is little recent precedent for late budgets at the city level, so it is not entirely clear what the long-term impacts would be.

While the speaker did not indicate which specific areas are hampering negotiations, she said the council is prioritizing restoring funding to the city’s public libraries, early childhood education programs and Parks Department, among others.

“We’re still negotiating all aspects of all of those things,” she said.

In response to the speaker’s comments, top mayoral spokesperson Fabien Levy referenced Adams saying they would “land the plane” earlier this week.

“The mayor made it abundantly clear on Tuesday: we’ll land the plane like we have done twice before,” Levy said, in a statement. “We look forward to finalizing and adopting an on-time budget that works for the working-class people of New York in the next week.” 

The central divide, Speaker Adams said, focuses on how much revenue the city has at its disposal to reverse the outstanding budget cuts, which the mayor enacted in November and January in a bid to close a sizable projected funding gap. The council argues there is over $1 billion in revenue that the mayor’s budget office refused to recognize in its executive budget.

It continues a trend of the City Council more quickly estimating higher revenue than City Hall will.

In addition to higher revenue, the council also estimates there is $2.25 billion in potential underspending and $550 million of in-year reserves that can also be tapped to undo the mayor’s cuts.

“Speaking about restoration and the cuts that came about some months ago, the council does not believe that those cuts were ever necessary,” Speaker Adams said. “We still believe that there is money there. We saw in excess of a billion that we believe need to work on behalf of, not just restoring but building funding for everything that we just mentioned.”