A New York City independent budget watchdog says the NYPD will likely blow its new overtime cap by $400 million. The new finding contradicts Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2021 billion-dollar budget cut.
De Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson agreed to shrink the police department’s regular $6 billion budget, by $1 billion amid nationwide BLM protests. To make the proposed budget cut a reality, the city pledged to reduce overtime by $352 million, remove school safety agents from the NYPD and cancel a cadet class, shrinking the department’s headcount by 1,160 officers, according to the New York Post.
The IBO report revealed “that police spending on overtime will be $400 million more than budgeted,” meaning that 2021 overall NYPD overtime spending will still reach at least $668 million, which is still down from the tentative $825 million for 2020. “The budget assumes overtime can be reduced by roughly 60 %,” the report says. “No reductions in overtime are scheduled for 2022 through 2024.” De Blasio said in a press conference that he still stands by his word. “We don’t have a lot of the things that NYPD used to put money into for overtime; we don’t have big parades and events. There’s a lot of things that are not happening in New York City for the foreseeable future,” he told reporters Tuesday. “So the hope here is that because we’re dealing with that changing dynamic, we can deeply reduce the amount of overtime.”
Following the death of George Floyd and the brutality from the NYPD during the protests, activists demanded budget cuts and a reduction or restructuring of the NYPD. The demands were supported by liberal lawmakers, including Speaker Corey Johnson. When De Blasio agreed to the cuts last month, many still weren’t convinced, claiming his reimagining of NYPD costs is all a ruse. Both activists and liberal lawmakers were furious when City Hall revealed that the school safety agents would need to remain on the NYPD’s books for at least another year.
The IBO further validated the protesters’ claims, when they revealed in a tweet that during the first two weeks of the George Floyd protests, the city paid NYPD officers $115 million in overtime, four times the amount spent during the same time last year.