Adams touts state budget for delivering on NYC priorities and 'every piece of the housing agenda'

New York City’s mayor voiced his approval over Gov. Kathy Hochul’s conceptual $237 billion deal announced a day before, but it’s not a home run on every issue.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at the Association for a Better New York breakfast Tuesday

New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at the Association for a Better New York breakfast Tuesday Sahalie Donaldson

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is very happy with the state’s tentative budget deal.

Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York Tuesday morning, he said the burgeoning final deal between legislative leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers on much of the city’s top budget priorities, including “every piece of the housing agenda” he and his administration have been fighting for.

“There was a real desire of: how do we get Eric what he needs,” Adams said, reflecting on how leaders in Albany approached the final stretch of the budget dance this week. “There are so many competing voices, but Carl, Andrea, and the governor were clear. This guy has been handed a bad hand with $180,000 migrants and asylum-seekers. We have to give them the help they need.”

The conceptual $237 billion deal – described by Hochul yesterday as the “parameters of a concept agreement” – includes $2.4 billion in aid to help the city pay for the costs of asylum-seekers, measures that will give the city greater authority to shutter illegal cannabis shops, measures to combat retail theft, and a housing package that includes a suite of tools aimed at helping the city boost construction.

While specifics have yet to be released, Hochul has said the housing package will include a six-year extension of the 421-a affordable housing tax break for projects already in the pipeline and a new tax incentive called 485-x slated to replace 421-a, which is meant to spur the construction of affordable housing in New York City. The tentative deal also includes incentives for converting underused office buildings into housing, an end to the city’s 12 “Foot Area Ratio” cap, which limits how big residential buildings can be based on its lot size, and a pathway to legalize basement apartments – all among Adams’ budget priorities. 

But it’s not a complete home run for Adams. The fate of mayoral control, which centralizes power over New York City schools in the hands of the mayor, remains uncertain. While there’s been rumors that the deal will include a last minute, two year extension of city schools governance model, Hochul cautioned that the issue isn’t a solidified element of the preliminary budget agreement. If lawmakers do end up agreeing to extend mayoral control, it may come with hefty tradeoffs, such as ensuring the city complies with the state’s class size law, according to Gothamist.

Addressing reporters during a media briefing Tuesday afternoon, Adams doubled down on his belief that the state should extend mayoral control another two years.

“We're not going to surrender anything that hurts our ability to educate,” he said. Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Adams chief advisor, added that both sides are making concessions. 

That’s not just the case for mayoral control. The $2.4 billion in migrant aid is still less than what Adams initially asked for and the housing tax break slated to replace 421-a isn’t expected to bring in as much development as the prior. When asked whether the deal is really as good as he says, Adams reiterated that he’s pleased. 

“I’m part of the half full team. I know what we were up against in Albany,” Adams said, lifting a plastic cup of water into the air. “Do we get this full glass? No. But this glass is half full – three quarters full.”