NYC Council Passes $75 Billion Budget

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -

New York City lawmakers early Thursday morning approved a $75 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, which they called “progressive, fiscally responsible and transparent.”

The City Council passed the budget, $5 billion over last year’s spending, after they worked out a deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio that held taxes steady and avoided any layoffs.

The budget largely backs up the liberal campaign promises that helped de Blasio in November become the first
Democrat to capture City Hall in 20 years. It increases spending for education and public housing.

But it does not include the council proposal to hire 1,000 new police officers. Instead, it hires 200 desk officers, freeing up a similar number of police officers to go out on patrol.

Lawmakers also created identity cards that residents could get regardless of their immigration status. The measure would add the nation’s biggest city to a growing roster of cities that do so.

The municipal ID cards would be available to all city residents, but they’re aimed largely at helping the estimated 500,000 immigrants living illegally in the city. With the cards, they’d have government ID for some tasks that require it, such as opening a bank account or signing a lease.

The card likely would cost around $10, waived for people who couldn’t afford it.

The council also voted to fund a program that will provide legal representation for all poor city residents who have been detained in the immigration system and are facing deportation, the first such program in the country.

Lawmakers approved $4.9 million for the upcoming fiscal year the program which covers eligible New York City residents appearing in immigration courts in the city or the New Jersey cities of Elizabeth and Newark.