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New York City headed for "economic tsunami," Mayor Eric Adams warns

Mayor Adams says "economic tsunami" is coming for New York City
Mayor Adams says "economic tsunami" is coming for New York City 02:44

NEW YORK - Mayor Eric Adams is looking to tighten the city's budget again. 

A multi-billion dollar deficit is expected next year. 

For one, he's ordered a partial hiring freeze as he warns of an "economic tsunami" coming towards New York City. 

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reports, this builds on what he already asked of these agencies back in September. He cites the local and national economies, financial markets, rising healthcare costs, high energy prices and inflation as the reasoning. 

In a letter to commissioners of city agencies, the mayor's budget director said 50% of open city government jobs will not be filled - about 4,700 jobs. 

"We're going to do everything we can to find those efficiencies, to find the best cost savings as possible, then we're going to move to plan b and plan c," Adams said. 

This doesn't apply to uniformed members of the FDNY, NYPD or teachers, or positions that generate revenue. 

That said, he issues this caution. 

"No one is escaping. We're going to do it in levels that's not going to hurt delivery of services and safety of city," Adams said. 

Back in September, city agencies were told to cut their budgets by 3% this fiscal year, and nearly 5% the next. 

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander was critical of the so-called "Program to Eliminate the Gap," and responded to this new letter saying the directive "furthers our concerns about recruiting and retaining the staff needed to implement critical programs from traffic safety improvements to housing applications." 

The mayor shot back. 

"I just think that he needs to focus on his office and delivering services," Adams said. "We need to be prepared for the economic tsunami that is coming toward our city... whether it is a tsunami sort of remains to be seen. We will be putting out an economic forecast out in a couple weeks."

Elizabeth Brown is with the nonpartisan budget group the New York City Independent Budget Office. She says the number of city employees has been declining since the pandemic. 

"These positions are currently vacant, but we have heard from certain agencies, for example the Housing Department, that has had a high vacancy rate that is impacting some of the services it provides. So as I said it remains to be seen which agencies are impacted."

Back in October, New York City declared a state of emergency over its intake of asylum-seekers. The mayor warned the city would run out of money for other priorities if it didn't receive funding from the state or federal government. So where is the money he requested?

"Still in conversations," Adams said. 

Agencies are also being told City Hall won't be allocating funding for new initiatives or programs - they'll have to be self-funded. 

The administration is also about to renegotiate labor contracts. 

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