January 14, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio: This is a really good moment for this city, and it’s all because of our teachers, our school staff, our parents, and especially our kids. And I want to congratulate, everyone. But let me put this in perspective, first. Seven years ago, when I came into office, I was deeply focused on education and my goal was to change our approach, to make sure there was excellence throughout our public schools but also equity, fairness, to make sure every child benefited. That’s why we did Pre-K for All. That’s why we did 3-K for All. That’s why we did Computer Science for All and Advanced Placement – AP for All. The things we have done in the area of education are universal, they're about reaching every child, every family, and recognizing the greatness of our kids and that potential, if only we give it a chance to be realized. You do that by investing in kids, investing in education, particularly early. And as we have done that, we've seen so many successes, our Community Schools initiative, so many things that have been working and with every year more and more kids benefiting. The impact has been felt up and down the school system, and it has been felt deeply into our high schools, and we've started to see the impact of all of these investments, all of these choices to focus on kids, it's making a difference and it’s showing up now in our graduation rate. You know, I've really been a believer that if there is accountability, if the mayor has accountability for the schools, we can move things quickly. We can make great changes. Here's further evidence of it. The highest graduation rate in the history of New York City. And this graduation rate, I'm proud to say I've been in office seven years, every year, the graduation rate has gone up, but now we have the highest graduation rate in New York City history, 78.8 percent. 78.8 percent of our kids graduating, and that is fully ten percent higher than when I took office. This is the kind of big change we need. This is the kind of fast change we need to help our kids, to help our families. So, we know that thousands and thousands of kids have gotten off to a better start and their futures are bright. And I want to turn to someone who just profoundly believes in our kids. He loves them. He cares about him and he believes in them, our Chancellor, Richard Carranza.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. And good afternoon. I can't tell you how proud I am to celebrate the hard work and resilience of our students. The class of 2020 spent over three-and-a-half years, working hard, studying, building community, and planning for their futures before their last few months of high school work completely upended and turned around by COVID-19. It broke my heart, and Mr. Mayor, I know it broke your heart that these students didn't get a typical senior year. But watching how the class of 2020 handled it helped actually put my heart back together. Senior year is normally filled with dynamic in-person festivities like proms, recitals, art shows, theatrical performances, athletic events, and senior week activities. And I know our students missed those things so much, but they demonstrated true leadership and resiliency by making the most of it – participating in drive-through graduations, virtual celebrations, and car parades. I had the honor of joining a drive-through graduation on Staten Island at CSI High School of International Studies. And while it wasn't your traditional graduation, in some ways, it was even more special to see those students with their families drive up and get their diploma.
And today I'm delighted to say, we get to celebrate these seniors even more because even during a global pandemic, they finished their year strong. Even when circumstances seemed there most daunting, the inspiring class of 2020 rose to the occasion. These students transitioned to remote learning. They learned how to use different online platforms and were separated from their peers, but still – they're true New Yorkers – they forged on. Words cannot express how impressive this is, and at every turn they were guided by our incredible educators and supported by their families who share in this accomplishment as well. The class of 2020 has kept the city on track to reach our goal. And that goal is to surpass the nation's graduation rate in the next five years by reaching 86 percent graduation by 2026. So even though the world was turned upside down, graduation rates rose for the seventh year in a row. Congratulations, Mr. Mayor. Dropout rates went down, and we continue to close the historical opportunity gaps for our students. And we would be remiss if we did not mention the achievements in the class of 2019 as well. More students than ever in the class of 2019 enrolled in college, a record 63 percent, which is an increase of over 8,000 students since the start of this administration. This is no coincidence. This isn't happenstance.
All of our high schools have resources and staff members intently focused on supporting our students with college and career planning. This academic planning for our juniors and seniors is happening as we speak for the class of 2021. All students need to be supported towards graduation so they can move on to college and careers. And that's why we continue to forge ahead with our Equity and Excellence agenda. From the youngest learners at three and four years old to our high school students in AP courses, from the moment they start school, they are on a path to success. So, the work continues and today we see how the dreams of New York City graduates carry. So, please join me as we celebrate the tremendous success of our most recent graduates, the amazing class, the highest graduating class in the history of New York City's public schools, that is the class of 2020.
Mayor: Amen, thank you so much, Chancellor. Congratulations to you and the whole team at the Department of Education, but especially congratulations to the kids of New York City. You have set a new record, and here's what I promise you – we are going to meet and surpass the national graduation rate. We're going to show that New York City can go farther and farther and be stronger even than the national graduation level because we've proven it year after year after year. This shows that Equity and Excellence works. Invest in kids and good things will happen. And as the Chancellor said, we're closing that achievement gap, we are showing that kids of color are graduating more and more, getting more and more opportunities to go on to higher learning. Just invest in kids and great things will happen. Let me say a few words in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
Okay. Very, very good news. And now we turn to our City budget, our preliminary budget, and there's going to be some challenges I'm going to go over for sure. There's going to be some news that isn't so good, but there's also some really good breaking news thanks to Senator Chuck Schumer. And I'll be talking about that in a moment. And, literally, we just got this news very recently today and it's changing the presentation that I was planning to make as a result. And that's a great thing. But first, as we would talk about it, you know putting together the City budget is a massive, massive endeavor, and it takes the work of so many dedicated public servants. I want to thank everyone who's been a part of this process. First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan, Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff Emma Wolfe, our Budget Director Jacques Jiha now undergoing his first round of budgets as our new budget director, the entire team at the Office of Management and Budget, our Intergovernmental Affairs Director Lydon Sleeper and his team, and I want to thank for their partnership as always in the City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Chair Danny Dromm.
A reminder, we're going to go through the top lines of the budget, take some questions. But afterwards, for our colleagues in the media, there will be a technical briefing available to you to get into the details of the budget. So, let's talk about the Fiscal ‘22 preliminary budget. Let me give you this quick preface to remind you of a long ago, ancient time, February, 2020. When you look at this slide, it is so shocking where we were less than a year ago. One of the best economies we ever had, 4.7 million jobs, the most we've ever had in New York City history, 67 million tourists the year before. Everything was strong. Unemployment, less than four percent. That was February, 2020. Now let's look where we are, and you see a very different world. And unfortunately, some of the bad news today, we’re going to talk about the details in a moment but what we've learned just in the last few days, as OMB has continued to get more information on property tax receipts, that unfortunately we have seen our revenue trail off yet again. Previously had told New Yorkers that we had lost $9 billion in revenue between Fiscal Years ’20 and ‘21. $9 billion as a result of COVID. Unfortunately, as we now look into Fiscal ‘22, we can update that number and tell you the revenue loss from COVID will be at least $10.5 billion, a staggering number. And you're going to hear about the property tax element of that in a moment. We also can tell you about the massive, massive costs that have been incurred because of COVID – almost $6 billion already, much of that FEMA reimbursable, not all. And we're going to talk about FEMA reimbursement in a moment and the good news brought to us by Senator Schumer. But just look at the sheer magnitude just since this crisis began in March, almost $6 billion of costs that we've had to bear.
Unemployment, again, went painfully high. It's still way too high, over 12 percent and almost half-a-million New Yorkers need work. People – half-a-million jobs we had, gone. We're trying to bring those jobs back and we have to lay a foundation to do that. And that's what this budget is all about. Remember, everything is about building the framework to get to recovery. That's what we're going to focus on, but let's look at this new revenue loss so it's clear. It's all about property tax. The overall revenue climbed $1.5 billion. That is driven by two-and-a-half billion dollars in property tax revenue that is not going to come in that we had originally projected. That's because we've seen real problems with a lot of the areas of our economy, hotels, obviously, an example, a lot of office buildings, values have changed, property tax receipts have changed, people who just can't pay, even if they wanted to among the homeowners, lots of things happening here. So, $1.5 billion is our overall revenue loss. Why is it not even worse? Because the rich got richer. Literally, the rich got richer. Folks who have a lot of money have done very, very well during this crisis. Amazingly look at the stock market. So, income tax receipts have actually gone up in some cases and other types of taxes as well, but because we've seen a net loss of revenue, because that property tax hit the budget gap we have to close has increased substantially. We told you back in November, we had a budget gap for this next fiscal year, $3.75 billion. It's now $5.25 billion. And I've been doing this for a while, these budgets, and that's much bigger than what we're used to. $5.25 billion that we need to find to have a balanced budget as of July 1st. That's our challenge.
Now, again, what's the foundation of this? To put New York City on a path to recovery, everything we're doing here, of course, we have to balance a budget. That's our legal obligation. That's what we know we have to do to keep New York City strong, but there's a much bigger point here. We have to build a foundation for recovery. So, closing the budget gap, that's the first need. But when you think about it, what we really have to do is make sure we are well positioned to move forward as a city, focusing on our people, working people who make New York City great, addressing the disparities that have come up in COVID, and constantly focusing on what's it going to take to give us the chance to get those jobs back and make New York City strong for the future. That's what we're doing in this budget. So, what matters most? Well, unquestionably. defeating COVID. That's what matters most. We are thrown in the kitchen sink to put COVID in the rear-view mirror.
That means, of course, massive investments in our vaccination effort. This is going to be the difference maker. We are not sparing any effort. We are not experiencing expense to make sure every New Yorker is vaccinated as quickly as humanly possible. And while I'm saying that I'll just note, we got the update of how many doses were given yesterday. At least every day is getting better. Yesterday in New York City, 35,748 doses given. So, for just the first three days of this week, we vaccinated 90,875 people. In the first three days of this week, we vaccinated almost as many people as we vaccinated all of last week. That shows you the speed with which this operation is growing. But it also takes a lot of effort and a lot of expense. It's worth it. Test and Trace Corps – thousands and thousands of people out there protecting folks, stopping the spread of disease. It's worth it, but there are huge expenses. They are expenses, however, that give us that turning point when we push back COVID and we can reopen our economy ever more intensely.
Now, let's talk about what else we need to have recovery. Our schools, our schools have to come back in September fully. That means kids coming back to the classrooms five days a week. It also means addressing their academic needs, their emotional needs, which are so intense right now, closing that COVID achievement gap. That's going to be a central focus of this budget and then keeping basic vital services going. Those essential services that make New York City great, that people depend on that are part of why people invest here, create jobs here, decide to come here. Those services have to be strong. You'll see that in this budget.
Okay. What are some of the key investments we're making? Well, as I said, vaccination and Test and Trace. That's $200 million already in this fiscal year. That number is very likely to grow going forward this year and into next. We're obviously focused on our kids, their academic needs and their social emotional needs. We're focused on helping kids over the trauma of COVID and giving them the ability to come back strong. That's why Summer Youth Employment is so important. So, we're bringing Summer Youth Employment back to where it was before the pandemic and we're hoping that means in-person this summer, if not, it will be virtual. So, many things we've had to do to just give people support, keep them going. That will be part of how we turn the corner. Getting food to New Yorkers who need it, getting childcare to New Yorkers who need it, making sure folks had access to the help they need with 3-1-1 being expanded all the time. All these are foundations of the future.
Now what we've got to do is, as I said, job one, close that budget gap, have a balanced budget. That gives us the ability to go forward. So, how do we do it? Strong fiscal management, always. And we had a very aggressive plan we put forward in November. We said every City agency is going to have to find savings. We got to find sacrifices across the board. What we've got – $1.3 billion from that process. So, that PEG process really worked, yielded the number we needed. We also have a very strict policy we're announcing related to attrition and hiring. Our workforce is beginning to shrink. And we've been clear that if an agency truly needs to hire for a line, something absolutely vital, they still can do it, but they have to give up three lines. They have to have three lines lost to attrition to be able to hire the one new. There are obviously exceptions, for example, in the health care field. But this is the model we're using for agencies now to keep bringing down headcounts, saving money.
Stimulus, we’re going to talk about this a lot in the next few minutes. This is absolutely crucial to get a strong stimulus from Washington, an actual stimulus, not just a survival package, a stimulus when direct aid to New York City in all localities, that's going to be the single number one difference maker, and then avoiding State cuts. This is the hidden danger here, massive potential State cuts that we have to be ready to guard against and we need that stimulus in particular to help us do it. Okay, now, let's talk about these savings we achieved, the $1.3 billion in PEG savings, that's this Fiscal Year and next. I want to talk about that Mayor’s Office, this is important, my office, the Office of the Mayor, we made a commitment to leading by example, we made a commitment to making very substantial cuts to our budget. If you go back to just a year ago at the Preliminary Budget last year, compared to what we are putting into this budget, a 13 percent decrease for the Mayor's Office, we're going to spend 13 percent less while still serving the City and making sure everyone is safe and we move forward. So, we want people to see we're tightening our belt, we expect every city agency to tighten their belt.
Overall, citywide savings, $2.2 billion over the two years, and a total $3.6 billion in savings overall, since last June. Now let's talk about PEGs and this is where it gets immediately interesting because of the breaking news, so literally what you see before you, that slide, that is what I used to brief the City Council Speaker, the Public Advocate, the City Comptroller, the City Council Members, the Borough Presidents, I then came out of the meeting with the Council Members and the Borough Presidents, I had a call from Senator Schumer, and I want to say, thank you, Chuck Schumer, you have really, really gone to bat for the people of New York City in New York State and this is huge. Senator Schumer told me that, literally as we speak, agreement was reached with the Biden Administration, to be in the next few days, with President-elect Biden, that the FEMA reimbursements due to us will now be achieved at a 100 percent level. Now, we've talked about this a lot, right now, throughout this whole painful crisis the City of New York has had to cover 25 percent of all FEMA eligible expenses, FEMA eventually provided the other 75 percent. Now FEMA's going to cover the full 100 percent. I talked to Senator Schumer, I expressed my profound gratitude on the behalf of all 8 million plus New Yorkers. He has really done something great for us and he fought for this. I know, we had this conversation for months and months, I know he was fighting the whole time to get this done. Tried to get it from President Trump, President Trump wouldn't do it. Tried to get it from the Republican Senate, they wouldn’t do it. But President-elect Biden said, absolutely, we're going to 100 percent FEMA reimbursement, as we retroactive to the beginning of the crisis. That's going to mean about a billion dollars for New York City. So, this is breaking news and good news. How exactly we're going to get it? When exactly are we going to get it? Obviously, real questions to be answered and we can't count our chickens until they're hatched. We need the money to come in hand, but I can tell you, this is just profoundly important news.
So, you see these two PEGs, these two cuts, were scheduled to move forward as of an hour ago, now with the news from Senator Schumer that we'll get 100 percent FEMA reimbursement and retroactive back to the beginning of the crisis in March, we're going to cancel these cuts. So that $150 million that was going to come out of Department of Education for Fair Student Funding, were canceling that cut, they can use that money for those schools. All those schools will be made whole. That $44 million, that was going to mean once again delaying the expansion of 3-K, we had to do it last year, we thought we would have to do it again this year, 3-K has been an incredible success, parents want it and need it, it's now going to be coming back. So, this is live as we're speaking really, really good news. Let's keep going and I'll tell you about the things we're going to keep doing. Even with that good news we're still far, far, far from out of the woods.
So, the hiring rule, three vacancies for one new hire. Now we've already reduced head count for the City of New York by about 7,000 employees since last January, so the last year. We're now going to reduce head count by 5,000 more employees, so a total of 12,000 head count reduction. Again, we're going to miss the work that those folks do, but we need that these savings going forward. Labor savings, we're going to continue to work with the labor community. We had a huge challenge in this year's budget, we needed a billion dollars, we were able to find the help of labor, the money we needed, we're able to avert negative actions. Thank you to our labor partners. We're going to still have to keep working together on savings, but we have a good track record that makes me very hopeful. Now, here's some good news also, and it's something most New Yorkers don't pay a lot of attention to, the nuances of our pension system, but our city actuaries come up with a great proposal, we're very appreciative to her. It creates savings right now, and it also reduces long-term risk for our pension funds. This new proposal, which we absolutely agree with, will save us $430 million in the current Fiscal Year, $300 million next Fiscal Year.
So, that's a great step forward. But here's where it gets complicated, everyone, I've given you some good news, but now this is where it gets dicey. The State of New York, the State of New York, they really do have a profound fiscal problem, I'm not belittling that. They have a massive challenge. They also deserve a huge stimulus. Until it's here, we don't know when and if it's going to happen, we don't know what level, we don't know if it's going to have local aid, there's a lot of open questions, but we do know one thing, the State of New York has to be made whole. If they're not made whole, we're not made whole. The State at one point made very clear that if they do not receive a massive stimulus, here's the problem, they may have to cut aid to localities all over the state by $8 billion. I'm talking for one year, $8 billion, that means a $4 billion hit to New York City. So, while I'm telling you good news and things that are working, all of that could be quickly erased if we see anything like those cuts from the State. Here's my message to the State of New York, it's not going to surprise anyone, if you want to avoid cutting the vital services that cities and counties and towns for divide to their people, here's a solution, tax the wealthy. The wealthy of New York State have never been taxed at the level they should. They have not paid their fair share. They just got a massive tax break a few years ago from President Trump. How about asking them to pay their fair share in the middle of pandemic while they aren't getting much richer? Let's look at the facts. 120 New York State billionaires, 120 billionaires grew their net worth by $77 billion during the pandemic. Yes, there's money. I used to say this last year and year before, I'll say it again, there's plenty of money in the world, and there's plenty of money in this country, and there's plenty of money in this state, it's just in the wrong hands. Let's tax the wealthy at the level they deserve and then we can avoid these horrible cuts to things like our schools, health care, our seniors. We're going to fight these cut obviously if the state feels compelled to move them.
Now, that's one challenge. Here's another challenge. Maybe you could consider an opportunity, but right now it looks more like a challenge, good thing happened, there was a COVID relief package. It wasn't the stimulus, but it was a COVID relief package. That's good. $4 billion was sent to New York State for education. That's good and it was supposed to be distributed to Title One kids, kids in greatest need. That would normally mean about 60 percent of the money would go to New York City. However, the federal language did not in any way, shape, or form require the money to go to localities, to go to local school districts did not require the State to use the money for that purpose or to avoid sending that money, but cutting the same amount someplace else, which is known as supplementation. Unfortunately, we have a challenge that that means we don't know if we're going to get our fair share. If we don't get our fair share, we can't do the things we need to help our kids. So right now, $2.3 billion riding on whether the State gives us what we actually deserve according to the goal of that federal legislation. If we don't have the money, we continue to have huge challenges in terms of opening up school in September, it will be huge costs to reopen school, to address that COVID achievement gap, to provide support to kids who have been through trauma. We've already spent a huge amount of money to get schools back open and to support remote learning and to support free devices for kids who needed them. We deserve this federal funding to make us whole and to help us move forward and we need to fight for it.
Okay, here is another – it's actually, there is a day of many items of good news, here's another piece of good news. I want to thank the members of the City Council. Really appreciate what the City Council has done here. Really appreciate the good advocates who are working hard on behalf of lower-income homeowners. Issue, it's not like a front-page issue, tax lien sales, but something that really needed real reform. We needed to make sure folks who fell behind had every opportunity to keep their home, get on a payment plan, get help. Great new reforms have been agreed to with the City Council and the advocates that protect a lot of homeowners, make it easier for folks to get on those payment plans. Make sure that folks get help and guidance when they need it. A lot more outreach, a million-dollar outreach campaign, working with grassroots organizations and a process to determine what's the best set of reforms for the future. These are the biggest reforms to our tax lien sales ever, major steps forward, but we're going to also have a working group to determine what comes next. It’s a one-year authorization. It means $1 billion in our budget is secure. So, it's very timely. Council's going to be voting on it later on this month, and we're very appreciative. This is really important progress to keep us moving.
Okay, now homeowners. So, the bottom line, I've said this many times, is we've dealt with the worst of the COVID crisis, the fiscal crisis, now we've lost $10.5 billion. Folks have said, hey, in the past, my predecessor raised property tax rates, are you going to have to raise property tax rates? I've said, there's no way in hell I'm raising property tax rates. That that would be wrong. It would be counterproductive. It would hurt so many homeowners and everyday New Yorkers who are struggling through the COVID crisis. We are not going to raise property tax rates, period, not in this budget or anything else we do in my time as Mayor. But here's another piece of the challenge. State law actually causes the property assessments to go up even in the middle of the COVID crisis. Assessments are going to go up and that's going to cost money, tax money, to folks who are struggling right now, one to three family, homeowners, even folks who are lower income would have to pay that. We want to give them relief. This is an area again that literally hours ago, I said to elected officials, this is something we want to do if we get a stimulus, but in light of what Senator Schumer has achieved for us and we know we're going to get that money back, that FEMA reimbursement, this is something I'm going to commit to right now. We will provide a rebate to owners of one to three family homes, that have to own and live in those homes, one to three family homes with a market value of less than $500,000. That adds up to about 293,000 families in New York City. So, these families will get a property tax rebate and that will make up essentially the difference of what they would have had to pay additionally because of State laws. So, this'll make folks whole and help them move forward in the middle of the crisis. So again, just a little while ago, this was a proposal pending stimulus money, I’m now telling you we are absolutely, positively, going to do this because of the great news from Senator Schumer.
Okay, overall, the Fiscal ‘22 preliminary Budget, the dollar figure is $92.28 billion, $92.28 billion, almost identical to where we were in the November plan. But as you see, since November, the challenge is this new loss of revenue, $1.5 billion, that brings our total gap to $5.25 billion. Again, how are we closing that gap? We're closing that gap with the PEG Program, that cuts from the different agencies across the board, with the pension savings, with other reductions in expenses we've found, reforms to our debt service to save money there, labor savings and some areas where we're seeing increased revenue. So, those are all really good pieces of the equation that we will work on. Obviously, there's pain there. I'm not belittling that some of that stuff is not what we would love to do if we had all the money in the world, but we know we can do it, and we know we can balance our budget.
Quick note on our Capital Budget. Let's go over these numbers and the Capital Budget. We've had an increase from our last version of the Ten-Year Preliminary Capital Strategy is $118.8 billion. A big focus on affordable housing, that's not surprising, that's been one of the central focuses of this entire administration and now we're able to get back a lot of that construction full-bore again, we also have been able to free up some capital money that was on hold for cash flow purposes, we've been able to once again, open that spigot. So affordable housing, big focus. Vision Zero, major focus here, safe streets for pedestrians and cyclists. That's going to be a big focus of our Capital Plan. Effects of climate change that we have to address. These are central parts of our Capital Plan. Okay, again, this slide was when I was going to explain to you that we had to fight for a billion dollars that we really deserve by getting the 100 percent FEMA reimbursement. Well check, done. Done and done. So, that is done and thanks to Senator Schumer and of course to President-elect Biden for agreeing to this really crucial step. It’s going to help New York City so much and so many other cities.
So, this budget will start us on their path to recovery, the focus, as always of this administration, but even more now, is on equity, on fairness, on addressing disparities. You're going to see that in this preliminary budget, you're going to see even more in the Executive Budget and we'll talk about it more in State of the City. But nonetheless, big challenges looming, dangerous cuts from the State, or not getting our fair share of the education money, and even with the good news today, we still need a serious and focused federal stimulus with local aid to really recover and move forward. Okay, quick look at the chart that gives you both this year's final numbers, but note, in addition to that $5.25 billion gap we’re closing this year, the years ahead are not easy. So, I want to caution everyone, next few years continued major budget challenges. That's why we're always going to have a lot of work to do to keep tightening our belts and get through this crisis and get to a strong recovery. A few words in Spanish.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
We're going to bring our city back and we're going to make it stronger and fairer than even it was before. With that, we're going to turn to our colleagues in the media and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: We'll now begin our Q and A. As a reminder, we're joined today by First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan, by Budget Director Jacques Jiha, by Dr. Dave Chokshi, and by Dr. Mitch Katz. First question today goes to Courtney Gross from NY1.
Question: Mr. Mayor, how are you?
Mayor: Good, Courtney, how have you been?
Question: I'm good, thank you. So, I believe this budget doesn't include layoffs. Is that correct?
Mayor: Yes, we have that million-dollar labor savings category and we really need to get savings from our labor partners and they've been very, very helpful, and there's been a spirit of collegiality. We're going to keep working on that. So, we still are going to need labor savings. But again, the more support we get as we just got from Senator Schumer the more we can say layoffs are absolute last resort and something we hope to never even have to contemplate.
Question: I guess, just for further clarification, are they still on the table? Because it wasn't obviously that long ago that you said, you know, 22,000 people, city employees could potentially lose their jobs. So, is that totally not going to happen anymore, just to clarify that, and are you assuming in this budget that you're going to be getting even more federal funding? Is that assumption sort of baked in and if it is—
Mayor: No. Courtney, I'm sorry to interrupt, I really want to make sure that I felt I was clear, but let me be clearer. Let me be clearer. No, it's absolutely not baked in. That's why I'm trying to be really clear about the challenges we face and the fact that we have to fight for that stimulus money. We do not have any guarantees if there will be a stimulus, when there will be a stimulus, how much, if it will include local aid or not. I mean, I just gave you the example of the education money that did come out of the federal government, but we have no guarantee if we're going to see any of it. So, no, no, we're far from out of those woods, but to your core question, let me clarify. Originally, you're right. We talked about 22,000 layoffs, horrible number, something I did not want to do and that would have been this last fall. We were able to find savings on alternative way, and we said from the very beginning, we needed labor savings. If we could find the savings, we would not do the layoffs. We got the savings working with labor. We did not need to do the layoffs. That's getting us through this fiscal year.
As we look ahead to next fiscal year, we definitely need more labor savings, but we're working from the position of being very hopeful that we had a great process with labor this time – we'll be able to do it again. I can never say never because there are such dangers out there like that potential $4 billion in state cuts, but I can say right now, there is no plan to move forward with layoffs. They would only be an absolute last resort.
Moderator: The next is Michael Gartland from the Daily News.
Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor, how are you doing?
Mayor: Good, Michael, how have you been?
Question: I'm good. So, question on this police reform mandate the Governor put out in June. You know, that's tied to funding. Do you project that the April deadline will be met for that, and is that a concern, that money might not be coming in if you guys miss that deadline? How much money does that represent, as well, in state aid?
Mayor: First of all, I'm absolutely confident we'll make that April deadline. Look, for seven years, we've been doing police reform. You know, folks in Albany focus or don't focus on things – we live here in New York City, and we've been doing police reform from day one, ending Stop and Frisk, ending marijuana arrests, body-worn cameras, de-escalation training, implicit bias training. You know, we've tremendously reduced the number of arrests. We’ve tremendously reduced mass incarceration. I could go on quite a bit more. We do police reform here in New York City, and a lot more is about to begin. You're going to see it play out literally in the coming days. So, unquestionably we're going to meet that deadline. I can't tell you we don't have a firm projection on what the state is talking about on the funding side, but it's going to be moot because we're going to put forward a very strong police reform plan. Go ahead.
Question: I'm also curious – in you talking to Senator Schumer, you know, you have this FEMA windfall here – windfall is maybe not the right word, but it's a plus for the budget. What other indications you getting from Senator Schumer on what might – what the stimulus package, what a stimulus package might look like? Or can you, kind of, clue us in on that?
Mayor: Look I want to respect private conversations, and obviously I spoke to Speaker Pelosi about a week ago, but here's what I can say we know from the consistent stances both of them have taken. They both believe in a large stimulus, a true stimulus. They both believe in aid directly to localities. Both of them have been really clear about that. I'm thrilled that Chuck Schumer going to be the Senate Majority Leader. That’s going to be a huge difference maker for New York City and for the whole country. So, from my perspective, we couldn't have two better leaders at this moment when it comes to belief in a serious, major stimulus and belief in local funding, direct funding to localities.
Now, a 50-50 Senate is not a lay-up in terms of the details, how big a stimulus is, what features it has. There's a lot still to navigate. Also, the question of timing. Is it going to happen in the near term? Is it going to happen before the April 1st state budget? Is it going to be later? So the will is there, but there's a lot of challenges to still get us to where we need to go.
Moderator: The next is Henry from Bloomberg.
Question: Hello, Mr. Mayor, how are you doing today?
Mayor: Well, Henry I'll take some good news. So, even though there's some tough things in this budget, the good news is very good. So, I'm happy. How are you doing?
Question: I'm doing fine. I have a lot of questions and unfortunately I can't ask them all, but the first question I've got to ask you is what happened between now and November when the November budget projected a $97 billion fiscal ‘22 budget, and now we've got a $92.28 billion budget?
Mayor: I'm going to contest that figure. I'm looking at my colleagues. I don't remember a $97 billion budget at all. I'm happy to be proven wrong but—
Question: Well, I'm looking at the website for OMB, the November 2020—
Mayor: Go ahead, Jacques.
Director Jacques Jiha, Office of Management and Budget: Yes, the budget in November for ‘22 was projected at $97 billion with a $4 billion gap. So, what happened is we had a significant drop in tax revenue for this year. These are the things that explain it, and also a drop in federal grants. These are the things that explain the drop.
Mayor: Yeah, that's an abstraction to say the least everything we do in budget is based on real revenue, obviously. So, we've told you that we did not see a stimulus. We all thought there would be a stimulus. We did not see additional support for the state. We did not, obviously, until just now get this resolution on a FEMA, and we thought property tax receipts were going to be higher. So, we're trying to constantly update people on the revenue picture, but the revenue picture unfortunately has gotten worse.
Question: Okay. I still don't understand how all of a sudden the budget lost $5 billion in spending. But let me move on to another question because the property tax from March—
Mayor: Go ahead, Henry, go ahead.
Question: The property tax from March through August increased, and so I'm a little surprised – the Comptroller, Scott Stringer, put out a report showing that the property tax, which is the city's largest revenue source, as you know, rose almost four percent to 16.3 billion. In that time, what happened, if anything, to suddenly make it plummet from August until your latest figures?
Mayor: Jacques is now—
Question: In the middle of the pandemic, the revenue went up?
Mayor: Jacques is now our OMB director, but obviously immediately before he was our Finance Commissioner. So, he – very much finger on the pulse of tax receipts. But again, I want to, as I turn to Jacques, emphasize, we're seeing two different trends, a negative trend with property tax and more positive trend with some of the other taxation, including a personal income tax. Go ahead, Jacques.
Director Jiha: What happened is the Department of Finance will issue tomorrow, the tentative tax [inaudible] for 2022 and base on the – we put in a report that they provided us, there has been a significant decline in market value of poverty in a class [inaudible] that – you're talking about the offices, retail, hotel. So, there's about a 15.6 percent decline in market values, which are slid into a decline in assets value, and as a result, we will be experiencing about a decline $2.5 billion in ’22, in property tax revenue, and this also has ramification for the [inaudible] because we also have to [inaudible] $2.5 billion almost in each a year of the financial plan in the [inaudible].
Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead.
Moderator: As a reminder, we're going to have a technical briefing after this for any more detailed questions on the budget. As another reminder, we're also joined on WebEx by Chancellor Carranza. Next, we have Brigid from WNYC.
Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor. I wanted to know if you could talk a little bit more about, excuse me, the PEG and you said you’d achieved the $1.3 billion in PEG savings over fiscal ‘21 and ’22, 13 percent cut from your offices last year's preliminary, but can you give us a sense of what kind of percentage cuts other agencies were looking at? Was there anything consistent to that, and is there any additional target they need to meet by the executive budget, similar to what you did last year?
Mayor: A great question. Thank you, Brigid. Right now, what we did with the PEG process is we gave agencies each a target, all of them within a pretty similar range. But each agency had a target. They had to meet the target. We have had different agencies before this PEG process that took major savings. Several had major headcount reductions, for example, for other budgetary and policy reasons. So, each agency does have some difference by definition. The Mayor's Office, obviously, it meant reductions in staff, it meant furloughs, all of the things that we have been doing.
Now, to your question about the future. We have not put up a new PEG but we are going to now as a result of this process, determine what we have to do going forward. We're going to, obviously, it's going to vary deeply, according to those variables I mentioned in the briefing, do we get stimulus or not? What happens with education money? Do we get our fair share or not? What happens with potential state cuts? All of these things are going to determine – right now, we're balanced, but some of those things could change the equation favorably or negatively, and of course, revenue, I mean, we just saw a major hit on the property tax side. There is obviously the danger we might see more between now and the adoption in June. So, there's not a new PEG plan yet, but if we feel the need for one, we can put that in place at any point between now and June. Go ahead.
Question: I just wanted to see if you would take a moment. I mean, this is your final preliminary budget presentation. Obviously, we'll have an executive and a final budget, but you are in a much different economic situation than you were when you delivered your first preliminary budget, and I wonder if you would just reflect a bit about where we are as a city, the challenge you're facing now, and just how it feels to be at this point in your leadership of this city, given everything we're facing.
Mayor: I appreciate the question, Brigid. Look, this may be hard for people to hear because there's still so much noise out there, and unfortunately, some people spread negativity about New York City, but I'll tell you what I truly believe: I'm absolutely confident. Absolutely confident in the future of the city. We've a tough situation right now. But I have to look at the positives, I really have to, and this is what drives me and why in my last year, I'm feeling very, very energized. The – there were three giant question marks. I always refer to, you know, the day that Chirlane said to me election, stimulus, vaccine, and it really did define everything in the fewest words possible. The election, from my vantage point, what I believe, but also for the good in New York City, went as well as we possibly could have imagined. I didn't know we'd ever get a chance to take back the US Senate – that's happened. President Biden's victory was resounding – President-elect Biden. We've gotten a vaccine as early as was conceivably possible, and the vaccine – the experience with the vaccine has been really positive on the ground. Remember Brigid, for a long time, we did not know exactly when we’d get it. We didn't know that it would be as good as hoped. I mean, it's really been impressive. We got it in December, it's working – that's amazing. The fact that stimulus, although it's not here yet, we've got the best conditions possible to, at some point, get the kind of stimulus we need. And this action today by Senator Schumer, working with President-elect Biden that, you know, something we fought for, for months and months – you know, we constantly pressed the Trump Administration for 100 percent reimbursement on FEMA. We couldn't get anywhere. The fact that it happened immediately, even before Joe Biden walked in the door, is amazing. So, I'm really hopeful – big picture. And I also have seen this heroic effort by New Yorkers this year. You know, just – you can't imagine how many heroic things were piled one on top of other. The hospital system held, the PPE and the ventilators and the lab capacity that was built here from scratch, Test and Trace Corps. built from scratch. We brought our schools back when no major city school system came back in America – you know, we came back in-person. And now, this amazing vaccination effort. I'm really excited about the future of New York City. So, it will be a tough transitional year in 2021, and there's serious challenges we have to deal with, but I don't have a question in my mind about where we're going. So, my spirit in my last year feels very much like my spirit and my first year, honestly, because I've just seen heroism on display and I see tremendous energy that's going to move us forward.
Sorry for the long answer, but you hit a nerve. Go ahead.
Moderator: The next is Joe Anuta from Politico.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor: Hey Joe. How have you been?
Question: Not too bad. So, I wanted to ask you about the labor savings from this year. I mean, so you characterize – I think it was about a hundred – or, a little more than $700 million as labor savings. But I'm assuming, you know, the payments were just delayed until this Fiscal Year ‘22 budget, so they're presumably showing up as expenses at a time when revenue is going down. So, I'm wondering if you could sort of explain the logic of that and how that squares with the – I'm guessing it's an additional $1 billion in labor savings that you're penciling in for this year?
Mayor: I would make it a little simpler. I appreciate the question. I’ll make it a little simpler. We needed a billion dollars in labor savings. We were able to get the savings we needed. Obviously, some other things happened too in the back and forth of the budget, but we were able to get what we needed for this year so we could move forward. But, next year, as it says in the presentation I just gave, we're projecting a need for another billion dollars in labor savings. That can take many, many forms. But I feel very good about the fact that labor worked with us so productively to get things done. So, I'm confident that we can work together again. But I think it's simple, we had a billion dollars we needed to find some way to address. We found a way. Now, we’ve got to do it again for the next fiscal year. Go ahead.
Question: And I wanted to ask you, what was the thinking behind doing this presentation now? I believe the Governor is going to give his budget also this month, maybe next week. There's a lot of uncertainty about how the State budget is going to affect the City budget. So, why not wait until [inaudible] of these numbers and then you can give us a more accurate picture of the financial state?
Mayor: Yeah. Good question, Joe. This is the statutory day. This is the day that's outlined for the preliminary budget presentation, and we were ready to give it. We knew there are lots of uncertainties up ahead and lots of moving parts and lots of question marks on the federal level. So, you know, it didn't make sense to try and move off the day that was determined by statute. And we also know the budget keeps evolving. Obviously, State budget on April 1st, our budget – our executive budget in April, and then a whole lot happens even between then and the June adopted. So, it really didn't make sense to hold off. You know, what is clear is that the two biggest moving parts here – one has to be determined by April 1st, are there going to be those big State cuts? The other is that federal stimulus – that doesn't have a timeline on it. Even though I'm hopeful of the fast version of the federal stimulus, and I really think that would be the best thing for the country, we don't know that yet. So, it just made sense to just plant our flag, say what we knew, and then keep building from there.
Moderator: Next is Nolan from the Post.
Question: Hi, everybody.
Mayor: Hey, Nolan. How have you been?
Question: I'm all right. How are you, Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: Good, man.
Question: There's obviously the budget that came out today, but there's obviously also been a whole lot of other news and developments that are of pressing interest. On the question of vaccines, you've gotten a lot of questions about the computer systems, and how people are getting registered, and all the rest of it. I was wondering if you, or if – I see Dr. Mitch Katz is on the call – if one of you could walk me through exactly why there are three separate systems that New Yorkers need to register for accounts, depending on whether or not they're getting shots from a community health care clinic run by DOH, whether or not they're getting their shots through the Health + Hospital system, or if they're getting their shot through one of these vaccine hubs?
Mayor: I'll start and turn to Dr. Katz and Dr. Chokshi. Nolan, a very fair question. Look, all of is based on the providers, let's be clear. I mean, the way we set this up was to take the maximum amount of capacity and bring it into play. Different systems were previously set up the way they handle patients and it just made sense to start with that. But the goal is to bring these systems to, you know, in greater alignment, make it simpler. The part we can't make simple is the qualifications. You have to fit certain characteristics to be allowed to get the vaccine at this point. And there are State requirements as to what you have to attest. It's not like, you know, click, click, click, and you're done. There's obviously a fair amount of detail, but we do want to make it simpler. So, Dr. Katz, then Dr. Chokshi, you want to speak to that?
President and CEO Mitchell Katz, Health + Hospitals: I’ll start, Mr. Mayor. Thank you. I mean, the first thing that comes to my mind is we did this fast so that New York City could get its vaccines fast. And the quickest way to do that was have each of the providers maintain their own computer system, but then create an overall umbrella system so people can go to one place then they choose whether the site they want to go and wherever they choose it basically goes into their computer system to make an appointment. So, you know, I mean, all providers have their own system, and while I think it would be wonderful if there could be just one single system, we would never succeed at being able to change every provider's computer system in this amount of time. And so, I'd also point out besides the umbrella website, which shows all of the places people can go, if people call our customer assistance line, they can get an appointment at any of these places. So, we we've done our best to try to make this happen very, very quickly. And, as the Mayor says, we'll work hard to try to bring it more and more together in the coming weeks.
Mayor: Dr. Chokshi, you want to add?
Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Yes, sir. Just three brief points to add on this. First, to make sure that people are aware of those resources that are already up and running. Nyc.gov/vaccinefinder is the one-stop shop for those locations. And then, it's 877-VAX-4NYC, which is that the telephone call center to help people navigate who may have limited internet access or limited internet proficiency. The second point is, to elaborate on what Dr. Katz said, to point out that we do want people to get their vaccine from places and clinicians whom they trust. And that's one of the real benefits of, for example, having, you know, a patient who gets their care at Bellevue to sign up for an appointment there so that it can be connected to their medical record when they're actually getting the vaccination. So, there are some, you know, some benefits just with respect to the practicalities of clinical care here. And then the third point is to say that certainly Dr. Katz and I are in constant communication about our systems and approaches to drive alignment across all of the city sites.
Mayor: Thank you. And just – Nolan, just to emphasize this point. I mean, yesterday, was, again, 35,748 vaccinations, so we're at 90,875 for the week after three days of the week. Our goal this week is 175,000. I feel really good about that. I mean, this thing is just growing all the time. So, we do really want to make it easier for people, but I can tell you a hell of a lot of people are navigating it well. We've got something in the order of 130,000 appointments booked for the days ahead. Something's getting through, but we want to keep making it better. Go ahead.
Question: Certainly, on another major story today, the State's Attorney General Tish James filed a lawsuit which asks for a monitor group to be appointed to oversee to police department reforms, but it also makes a series of startling claims about what you knew and when you knew it about the policing tactics used against the Black Lives Matter protests in May and in June. It says that you were aware and regularly viewing reports from your staff and from the media that showed that tactics that have abused the civil rights of protestors were being used. And it also says that despite your awareness of these tactics, you, the Police Commissioner, and the Chief of Department Terry Monahan failed to prevent the officers from using these tactics. You were briefed, you regularly denied knowledge of these tactics, you disputed reports these tactics were being used. Reconcile why you were saying one thing to the public while you were internally being told another –
Mayor: Nolan, let me say that two very, very important investigations took place. The Department of Investigation of the city, and, obviously, the Law Department, Corporation Counsel looked in tremendous detail at what happened in those days, put out publicly very, very complete reports. And I thought they were thorough, I thought they were thoughtful, critical in the right way in terms of asking tough questions and raising tough concerns, came out with a group of recommendations. I accepted all those recommendations. We're implementing them right now. We have been for weeks and weeks now. The Police Commissioner accepted them as well. I met with the Attorney General yesterday. We absolutely share the goal of deepening police reform. We're doing it. We're doing it as we speak and we've been doing it for seven years. The bottom line is we're going to keep doing that and the best way to get the job done is through the way that I think change has always been made best. The people sent me here to do this work of reform. We are doing it. We’re going to deepen it. We're going to work closely with the City Council on an additional package of reforms ahead of that April deadline. So, I'm convinced that we're going to continue to profoundly improve the relationship between police and community and move the city forward.
Moderator: We have time for two more for today. The next is Dana from the New York Times.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayer. A couple of questions for you. First, the property tax has always been, you know, depicted as the most stable of the City's revenue streams for good reason, because, you know, changes and assessments are typically phased in over five years. Why – what accounts for this, sort of, precipitous drop? How does one square that with, you know, the fact that it's supposed to be the most stable revenue stream?
Mayor: It's a good question. I think this is – I'll turn to Jacques and Dean, but I'll say this, Dana, I think this is an illustration of just how much disruption occurred here. You know, there have been economic ups and downs before in New York City. And you're right that, you know, nonetheless, property tax was pretty stable. I mean, this is just a total economic dislocation for certain industries. We've never seen anything like what's happened to the hotel industry. We've never seen Midtown in the case it is now, in the situation it is now. I mean, come on, this is – this is – talk about perfect storm. What's happened in Midtown was inconceivable and even in different downturns before nothing like that ever happened. So, we've got a global pandemic that has profoundly altered behavior for a period of time and has had just massive domino effects on certain elements of our economy. And, obviously, for some property taxpayers, you know, with less resources, has literally made it impossible for them to pay. So, I think these are the reasons why we're so far away from the norm.
Jacques, and then Dean, if you want to add.
Director Jiha: Yeah. It's a very technical question, but I would try to – if you want more explanation, I will provide it to you when we do the technical briefing. What happened here is in terms of class-three property values, we have a mechanism in place, what you call [inaudible]. So, the law basically says, you are facing the increase over a five-year period. However, if in any year you have market value that is lower than the transitional value, you have to go back and use the lower. So, the mechanism that we have to smooth, okay – for a lot of the properties, to smooth out the increase over time breaks down for many of these properties. And, as a result, okay, what do you use to have basically as the counter cyclical, okay, property – of the property tax system basically breaks down for lot of these properties, causing the value of this property in that class to drop. So, but – I don't know if I answered your question, but if you need more – a more technical explanation, I’ll provide it to you in the technical briefing.
Mayor: Dean, do you want to add?
First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan: Yes. So, the Mayor sets the framework. Jacques gave you the specifics of how it happened, but this is very unusual, and it is a result of the pandemic, and the economic dislocation. It is that simple and very unusual in the property tax, which is our most stable tax.
Mayor: Go ahead, Dana.
Question: Just to clarify, you mean class four, right?
Director Jiha: Yes. Class four – I’m sorry. Class four, yes.
Mayor: You caught the budget director. Good job, good job – we like that.
Question: And then, just – will these affect – like, how long will this property tax dislocation – like, how long do you think it's going to last, given that – yeah, I guess, you know, it's a technical question, but –
Mayor: No, it's important. First of all, I'm not – before I let my colleagues go, look at those out-years, Dana. I mean, this is serious stuff. I'm glad you're raising it. That, right now, the out-year gaps are substantial. I am worried about property tax, going forward, in light of this. I'm heartened that other taxes are coming in pretty strong. And, again, good day, hopefully the very beginning of a lot more federal support that will change the fortunes for this city profoundly. But no, we got – this is going to be a road back and we do need to be concerned about the property tax, going forward. Go ahead, Jacques.
Director Jiha: Yeah, it's like the Mayor said, he has [inaudible] to the financial plan. I mean, this is the first time since 1997, I believe, that we have a decline – we're going to experience a decline in property tax revenue. Hopefully, you know, as we’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccination campaign – a very aggressive vaccination campaign in New York and hopefully as we begin to safely reopen the economy and people coming back to work, office vacancies begin to [inaudible] hopefully we’ll recover very soon, sooner than later. And we need to basically change the trajectory of the property tax revenue.
Mayor: Okay. Thank you. Go ahead.
Moderator: Last question for today goes to Katie Honan from the Wall Street Journal.
Question: Hey, good morning. I was just hoping you could explain a bit, I know you spoke earlier about the FEMA reimbursements, and I know we can probably guess what some of the COVID expenses were, but if you, or Dr. Katz, or Dr. Chokshi wants to explain a little bit more about what the biggest FEMA reimbursement were. And I guess just to explain a little bit about how important this is to get 100 percent of this reimbursed?
Mayor: Yeah. It's incredibly important. And, actually, I would say Dean and Jacques might be able to talk about more from a budgetary point of view. But, look, I mean, the vaccine effort is a great example, Katie of, you know, everything we're doing to vaccinate people – all these centers were setting up, all the personnel that were bringing in from the providers, everything we're paying for to get people vaccinated is absolutely central to beating the coronavirus. Now, that is FEMA reimbursable, that's the good news. But until this morning, that meant that you had to still pay for 25 percent of the cost. So, it kind of was – more than kind of, it was definitely a contradiction – the federal government saying, hey, let's fight the coronavirus, let's beat the coronavirus, let's go as fast as possible, but localities you're on the hook for 25 percent. Now, every locality in America's lost a huge amount of revenue. So, if you're running out of revenue, if you don't have a choice, you're not going to go and keep spending the money you need to overcome COVID if you don't have any money. And, you know, we're doing better than some places, but it's a total catch 22. So, by saying now these appropriate expenses are 100 percent reimbursed, it encourages everyone to go do what they have to do to beat the coronavirus. So, all the costs related to the vaccine initiative are a great example of something that's FEMA eligible. And the fact that they're going to go back to the beginning of the crisis is huge for us. Again, our estimate is about a billion-dollar impact on our budget, as if we got a billion more in revenue.
Dean or Jacques, want to add?
Director Jiha: Yeah. We have a number of items, such as PPEs, testing, food, remote learning, school openings, all these items would be covered by FEMA.
Mayor: Go ahead, Katie.
Question: For the record, I don't even realize I'm saying good morning, usually, so I apologize for saying good morning.
Mayor: That’s alright. It’s the coronavirus. It's okay, Katie.
Question: So, my second question is, I know especially with the summer there was a big push for the borrowing authority and it, kind of – you didn't receive the support in the State, it kind of fell off with it. And I know you've said repeatedly that the stimulus is not guaranteed, so is that still something you are looking to pursue in terms of filling some of these revenue deficits in the city?
Mayor: The simple answer is not right now. The focus then – Katie, I’ve got to tell you, in the spring when the House passed its stimulus bill, I was very hopeful, wasn't thinking about borrowing. And then, you know, the Senate didn't act, didn't act, didn't act, and we got increasingly worried that there would never be a real stimulus. We, obviously, did not know what the election would bring in November. And so, borrowing was a very real need, because we had so many unknowns and so many growing expenses. This is even before we knew the property tax impact and everything else. But the results of the election changed things, obviously, profoundly and we're hopeful about a stimulus. So, right now, it's not on the front burner. It's something I'd say we keep in our back pocket, depending on how everything goes. I'm still worried about those potential State cuts. I'm still worried about the, if, how, when of a stimulus. What size? Does it have local aid? But no, we're not – at this moment, we're not focused on the long-term borrowing.
Everyone, as we conclude, just – look, we’ve got a lot to do. Tough road ahead, but we also got some really good news today. Again, special thanks to Senator Chuck Schumer, amazing effort to get us 100 percent FEMA reimbursement. That's a billion dollars closer to the recovery of New York City. So, that's a good day and we thank our Senator for going to bat for all of us. Thanks, everybody.