July 1, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The City Council passed a record-breaking $98.7 billion executive budget for the upcoming fiscal year Wednesday, but not everyone supported it.
Wednesday’s budget hearing was relatively placid compared to last year, when council members voted for or against the prior budget amid mounting pressure to decrease police spending. That Council vote came in the midst of ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the city last summer.
However, many people have once again criticized the city for what they see as an inflated NYPD budget in the fiscal year 2022 budget.
The new budget, which includes $14 billion in federal aid, increases police spending by $200 million more than last year — including $166 million for overtime. The NYPD budget, therefore, totals $5.4 billion.
Six council members voted against the city’s largest ever budget Wednesday, including two from Queens.
Long Island City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer was one of the six members to vote no. He voted against the previous city budget, which aimed to divest nearly $1 billion from NYPD spending, as well.
“Last year, I voted against the budget because it did not go far enough in re-envisioning public safety,” Van Bramer said in a statement Wednesday. “And I will do so again today for the same reason.”
He condemned the increase in NYPD overtime spending.
“Last year’s uprising and budget fight was not just a moment; my personal beliefs have not changed,” he said.
Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso, whose district includes part of Ridgewood, also voted against the fiscal year 2022 budget Wednesday.
Reynoso — the frontrunner in the Brooklyn borough president race — said that the budget didn’t allocate enough funding to fight inequities exposed by the pandemic, yet somehow found money to raise the NYPD budget, according to the New York Times.
The city budget ultimately passed with a vote of 39 to 6.
Progressives outside the decision-making process — including several candidates running for City Council — blasted its passage as well. Many of the critics are running for office in Queens.
A dozen City Council candidates backed by the Working Families Party released a joint statement Wednesday evening criticizing the amount of money allocated to the NYPD.
“Simply stated: any budget that increases funding to the NYPD is not one designed to protect or strengthen our communities,” the candidates said.
Five of the dozen are running for office in Queens and a sixth will likely succeed Reynoso in representing Ridgewood, Williamsburg and Bushwick.
They are District 22 candidate Tiffany Cabán, District 23 candidate Jaslin Kaur, District 26 candidate Amit Bagga, District 29 candidate Aleda Gagarin, District 32 candidate Felicia Singh and District 34 candidate Jennifer Guitérrez.
The candidates promised to reduce the size and influence of the NYPD if elected.
“As Working Families Party candidates and prospective Council Members who ran on platforms that centered budget justice, we renew our collective commitment to reduce the size, scope, and role of the NYPD and fight for policies and budgets that advance safety, equity, and justice in New York,” they said.