NYC mayor asks state lawmakers for more money

It was Tin Cup Day in Albany on Wednesday - the one day a year that mayors across New York go up to the state Capitol and jangle their "tin cups," pleading the state for more money in an annual local government budget hearing.

But Mayor Eric Adams did very little pleading, testifying for the first time in person after having to appear virtually last year.

In past years, the mayor of the nation’s largest city has been on the hot seat facing tough questions from lawmakers for around four hours. But this year Adams was finished after only two and a half.

"I’m an overall good guy," Mayor Eric Adams joked after one line of questioning.

"I’m not sure that gets you anything in Albany but thanks for sharing," Senator Liz Krueger quipped back.

But state lawmakers did go relatively easy on Adams, mostly agreeing with a majority of his proposed fixes to Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget proposal.

Adams focused his testimony on four proposals he said would have a devastating impact on city services - starting with schools.

Hochul wants to lift the charter school cap completely, a move that is already being met with quite a bit of pushback.

Adams won’t directly support or oppose this proposal to lift the charter school cap, instead focusing on the fiscal impact, which he says will cost the city around $1 billion.

Some lawmakers during the hearing said they will also be opposing lifting the cap.

"It’s something that I adamantly oppose, the lifting of that cap and it's good to hear that you kind of oppose it also," Senator John Liu said.

"I'm not willing to go along with the charter expansion, basically the governor opened the door up for a floodgate to New York City," Senator Robert Jackson said.

Adams on the campaign trail said he supports so-called zombie charters, that were approved but never constituted. A sentiment he echoed on Wednesday, but also said he wants to focus on what works.

"I've gone into district schools that have been wonderful. I've gone into charter schools that have been wonderful," Adams said. "So while I look at those who are educating our children, they see the scale of what works. They have to figure out what how that's done in the law."

Adams also pushed back on Hochul’s proposal that the city fork over an additional $500 million a year to help fund the MTA.

"We don’t have endless cash," Adams said.

Adams says this responsibility to fund the MTA should fall on all localities, not just the city.

"I think we have done our share when it comes down to the MTA" Adams said. "And everyone should share that cost and I think the state has an obligation to make sure we fill those gaps."

Hochul is also proposing that the city, state, and federal governments split the costs evenly when it comes to housing asylum seekers.

But Adams says the state shouldn’t trust that the federal government will provide financial assistance since the House is controlled by Republicans and has yet to officially commit to shouldering these costs.

However, neither has the state as Mayor Eric Adams reminded lawmakers during his testimony warning of cuts to city services if there is no financial aid.

"Every service in the city is going to be impacted," Adams said. "Every service. Over 11,000 (asylum seeker) children in our school system we absorb. Thus far, we have not seen any financial assistance to assist us."

Senator Liz Krueger seemed to be supportive of the State chipping in more.

"In fact we haven’t been giving the city the 29 percent that they should be getting in your traditional homeless shelters, which is at crisis levels," Krueger said.

Adams has also been vocal about his support for Hochul’s proposal to give judges more discretion when setting bail.

Adams met with legislative leaders while up in Albany, including Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who said that bail reform was not a topic of discussion.

A final budget is due on April 1.