(June 30, 2021 at 4:30pm)

“The Fiscal Year 2022 budget is a step forward in our recovery after the pandemic devastated our City. In order to fully put COVID-19 behind us, we need to continue fighting for more vaccinations, commit to getting our small businesses back on track and invest in our communities as we see crime on the rise. Queens has been the epicenter of the crisis, and I am glad to see we are making strides.

“Here at Queens Borough Hall, I am thankful that many painful cuts to the Borough President’s Office from Fiscal Year 2021 are restored and now improved in this year’s budget. My office is a one-stop space where all Queens families can visit for an array of services, and we need the adequate resources to serve and support the 2.4 million people who call our borough home.

“I am especially proud to see a $44 million investment in community-based public safety programs, such as Cure Violence, of which I have been an early advocate. When we have neighborhood-based solutions, we see a decrease in gun violence and gang violence. These programs are historically underfunded, but today our City is making progress in making the change. The Cure Violence model is a model I truly believe in, and one which centers our communities first and foremost.

“This pandemic also unfortunately propelled a pandemic for hate, particularly against our Jewish, Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Muslim communities. As Queens saw a rise against hate, I called for these investments and I am proud the $4 million AAPI Community Support and $1 million Hate Crime Prevention initiatives are included in this budget.

“New Yorkers’ quality of life suffered greatly during this pandemic. This budget consists of allocations toward foreclosure prevention programs, sanitation services improvement and Summer Rising expansion, and I hope this budget gives New Yorkers hope and comfort.

“It is also evident this pandemic highlighted a series of inequities in our City. From securing 100% of the Fair Student Funding allocation to committing funds to food pantries, this budget sends a strong message to New Yorkers that no New Yorker should be left behind. That message rings especially true here in Queens.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, Finance Chair Dromm and the Council for securing a budget that places Queens and the rest of our City on a path to recovery.”