On Tuesday night, the New York City Council passed an $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
The budget process was particularly difficult this year given the billions of dollars the city is losing in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic lockdown.
Among the more contentious parts of the budget was the decision to cut nearly $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion operating budget.
For weeks, activists have marched and protested calling for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. While the budget falls short of that, it reduces overtime pay for police officers, transfers school safety to the Department of Education and cancels two cadet classes.
In the late hours on Tuesday night, 37 members voted for the budget, while 12 rejected it. Councilman Bob Holden was among those who voted no. Here’s why.
“As one of the very few Council members who has lived through several crime waves in our great city, I am very concerned that the protest-driven moment to defund the NYPD will lead us toward another high-crime era,” he said.
“While the intention of diverting more funds toward education and services for those who need it most sounds noble, supporters of this movement seem to be unaware of the billions this city has already wasted with no tangible results.”
Ultimately, nine members of the City Council voted no because they believe the cuts don’t go far enough. Eight members said no because they opposed cuts to the NYPD.
Holden noted that the budget has soared $25 billion under de Blasio’s tenure.
“So will taking $1 billion from the NYPD accomplish anything other than appeasing this movement while damaging the morale of police officers?” Holden said. “As legislators, we cannot create policy based solely on what’s trending at the moment.
“We must maintain balance, order and logic while holding public safety as the highest priority,” he added.