City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said Wednesday the city should be “careful” how it spends its $6 billion in stimulus money, after The Post reported on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s profligate spending plans amid accusations he’s spending the taxpayer cash “like a drunken sailor.”
“We need to be, of course, careful, because it’s not just about this current fiscal year that we’re going to be voting on the budget for,” said the speaker at a virtual press conference. “But the out years have $4 to $5 billion gaps in those out years, and we need to plan for that.”
While Johnson, who is running for city comptroller, said that “some of the spending is good,” such as money for education and summer school, he warned the city needs to pay heed to the deficit the Big Apple faces in future years.
“With this money coming in, we have to look at it as a one-time thing that we’re getting,” he added. “We need to make sure it’s structured over multiple years, so that we’re looking at the long-term risks that the city has, not just the short-term risks.”
Johnson did not say what item in the city’s shopping spree should be put back on the rack, but said he looked forward to hashing things out in talks with the mayor.
“The Council will talk about that as we got through these budget hearings, as we go into budget negotiations in June,” he said of saving money for rainy days ahead.
After gaps in the pandemic-stricken city’s budget were plugged by the American Rescue Plan funds, critics have said de Blasio has been spending the American Relief Plan money like a “drunken sailor,” The Post reported Tuesday.
Among the spending in the record $98.6 billion budget is $234 million for a cleanup corps—which Borough President Eric Adams criticized as redundant, since the city has a sanitation department— and an annual $37 million to hire more city workers.
“He’s spending like a drunken sailor and leaving it to the next mayor to be sober,” Carol Kellermann, former president of the independent fiscal watchdog the Citizens Budget Commission, told The Post.
“We need to spend every dollar wisely to emerge from the pandemic,” cautioned City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens).
The mayor and City Council must agree to a budget by the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1.