Heard Around Town

Adams: funding for migrants is top priority in Albany

The New York City Mayor visited the Capitol monday to lobby for his budget asks

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the Million Dollar Staircase in the state Capitol on March 27, 2023.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the Million Dollar Staircase in the state Capitol on March 27, 2023. Rebecca C. Lewis

New York City Mayor Eric Adams traveled up to Albany on Mondaytoday to push for his budget priorities in the final week before the April 1 deadline. At the top of his agenda: the migrant crisis facing the city. “We have to find an additional $4.2 billion,” Adams told reporters after meetings with Albany leaders (though a spokesperson would not immediately confirm who, exactly, he met with). “That is really going to undermine our city and it’s going to impact every single service that we have.” Gov. Kathy Hochul had proposed an additional $1 billion in state funding for the crisis, factoring into a shared split among the city, state and federal government – but Adams reiterated that he has no confidence that Congress would produce that money with Republican leadership in the House. “The lawmakers up here that represent the city made clear this national issue should not be on the back of New Yorkers and they’re going to deliver it on our behalf,” Adams said.

Hizzoner also said he focused conversations today on reducing the city’s burden in funding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Hochul had proposed increasing the city’s annual contribution to the agency by about $500 million. “I shared with the leaders earlier in the year – and I shared with the governor – that half a billion dollars is just something we cannot take on at this time,” Adams said. “And both houses heard us.” 

The mayor was more elusive on the matter of additional tweaks to bail reform, another one of his stated priorities that temporarily derailed three-way budget talks over the weekend. Adams said he had “an excellent conversation” with Hochul on the matter, but deferred to her over the status of her proposal with lawmakers. “I had a great conversation with her, and I never disclose private conversations,” he said.

Adams has been touchy about any criticism about not securing key parts of his agenda in Albany last year. He said Monday he thought he “had a banner year” last year. Still, Adams has seemed to revamp his approach to Albany this session, with his intergovernmental affairs team now officially led by Tiffany Raspberry, a top aide. But the mayor may be setting himself for more criticism this year by naming securing money for asylum-seekers as his number one priority – an issue that Hochul has proven more than once she’s willing to pass the buck on, despite the pair playing nice in public.