Eric Adams is headed to Albany, tin cup in hand.
The New York City mayor will testify at the joint state legislative budget hearing for local governments on Tuesday to make a direct appeal for a suite of priorities that he’s teased repeatedly over the past month. That includes a push for tools to build new housing, the perennial request to renew mayoral control of schools, authority to crack down on illegal cannabis shops, and funding to help in the city’s response to asylum-seekers.
So-called “Tin Cup Day” is when local governments put their requests for funding and other local needs to be included in the state budget on the legislative record. The mayors of Buffalo, Yonkers, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany are all scheduled to testify, as are representatives of the state Conference of Mayors and Association of Counties.
But New York City, in its typical fashion, tends to pull focus. Adams’ testimony will open the hourslong hearing at 9:30 a.m., but he won’t be the only one trekking from the city to testify. New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams will also testify at the hearing.
In their respective responses to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget last month, Lander and Speaker Adams both praised new proposed funding to help New York City cover the costs of sheltering and providing other services to the more than 170,000 asylum-seekers who have come to the city since spring of 2022 – tens of thousands of whom are currently in the city’s care. New York City’s envoys are likely to make their case for that funding on Tuesday in front of the Legislature too.
The fight for a deal on housing will be one of the most significant this year. Last spring, state lawmakers and the governor failed to reach a deal, with lawmakers’ call for the inclusion of tenant protections proving to be a sticking point. This year, Hochul has again pressed for a replacement for the expired 421-a tax incentive for housing developers as integral to a housing deal, while state legislative leaders have maintained that such a deal must include tenant protections.
Mayor Adams has backed the call to replace 421-a, while also expressing openness to a deal that includes tenant protections. Adams has also called for tools to allow more flexibility in creating new units, including by allowing denser building, easing office to residential conversions and legalizing basement units.
Lander’s testimony will focus primarily on housing affordability. In his response to Hochul’s State of the State address last month, Lander argued against a replacement of 421-a and in favor of a reduced tax rate for new, large multifamily rental housing. Lander has also advocated for “good cause” eviction protections.
Though a comprehensive housing deal eluded the state last year, City Hall is expressing some optimism ahead of several months of negotiations in Albany. “I’m not hearing ‘no,’” said one City Hall insider, of discussions about the state reaching a deal on housing. “What I’m hearing is ‘how.’”
City Hall has projected confidence in general about Albany delivering on their wishlist. In an unrelated press conference on Monday, Mayor Adams pushed back on the narrative that his record in Albany over the last two years has been mixed, pointing to wins like approval for the NYCHA public housing trust and authorization for 24/7 speed cameras. He failed, however, to secure a longer extension of mayoral control of schools, and to modify the state’s bail laws as thoroughly as he initially pushed for.
“Every year since I’ve been mayor, for those two years, people talked about my bad relationship with Albany,” Adams said on Monday. “Yet, at the end of the legislative session, we walk away with just about everything we want.”