NYC GOP ‘State of the City’ Assesses Crime, Illegal Immigration Crisis, Commuter Tax

NYC GOP ‘State of the City’ Assesses Crime, Illegal Immigration Crisis, Commuter Tax


The Gertrude and Morrison Parker West Side Republican Club hosted the New York City assessment.

Under New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s administration, crime has decreased from its 2020 and 2021 highs, but a Manhattan Institute senior fellow has characterized the lows as “fragile gains.”

“Yes, the mayor has made some progress, but he has not made the kind of decisive progress in reducing violent crime and other crimes that we saw during the early years of the Giuliani administration and continuing through the Bloomberg administration,” Nicole Gelinas, a chartered financial analyst and the author of “After the Fall: Saving Capitalism from Wall Street and Washington,” said.

Ms. Gelinas, who presented her assessment of the city on Jan. 9 at the Gertrude and Morrison Parker West Side Republican Club, said she wants to see Mayor Adams hold the state Legislature and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accountable for allegedly choosing not to prosecute most nonviolent and some violent crimes. 

The West Side GOP Club hosted its annual State of the City event at the Jewish Center on West 86th Street in Manhattan.

“There are multiple lines of accountability for the increase that we’ve seen in crime in the past four and a half years, and, indeed, the rise in violent crime started in the last quarter of 2019, which was when the bail reform, the discovery reform, was done by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo,” she said.

Mr. Adams was sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2022, and city officials painted a different picture of the crime rate.

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According to New York Police Department (NYPD) data, shootings dropped by 24.7 percent from 1,294 in 2022 to 974 in 2023 citywide and decreased by 15.3 percent from 85 in December 2022 to 72 in December 2023; across all crime categories, arrests of criminal suspects increased by 19.5 percent from 189,781 in 2022 to 226,872 in 2023.

“It is clear today that the NYPD’s laser-like focus on those who carry illegal guns continues to drive significant reductions in violent crime all across our city,” Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban said in a statement. “We will redouble our collaborative efforts with each of our local, state, and federal partners to ensure that everyone who lives in, works in, and visits New York City is safe – and feels safe, too.”

Ms. Gelinas also told the largely conservative audience that the way Mayor Adams is handling the illegal immigration crisis has resulted in more disorder and low-level crime, with instances escalating to higher-level crime. 

“The mayor really has to challenge the 40-year-old right to shelter,” she said. “The right to shelter is not in the state constitution. You can search the state constitution. It’s not there. This is a settlement done under [Mayor Ed] Koch’s administration.”

Ms. Gelinas estimated that illegal immigrants living in city-funded shelters would cost $4 billion a year and have doubled the homeless population.

“This is more than we spend on the fire department, more than we spend on the parks department, more than we spend on the corrections department, and it’s not something that is in any way sustainable,” she said.

Mayor Adams didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The office of New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov blamed President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

In 2023, for example, the federal government began allowing Colombian, El Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran people to obtain U.S. work permits if they have relatives who are U.S. citizens or are green card holders.

“Mayor Adams is in a no-win position because President Biden has abandoned New York City from a monetary standpoint,” Ms. Vernikov’s director of operations, Izzy Weiss, told The Epoch Times. “He’s gone to Washington multiple times, and the president tells him to go jump in a lake in a nice way. So, I don’t drop sole blame on the mayor’s office.”

Last week, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams threatened to sue Mayor Adams’s administration because the local governing body wants more people to be provided with housing vouchers without having to go through the shelter system.

But Mayor Adams has fiscal concerns. So instead, he issued emergency rules that expanded access to city-funded rental assistance and expedited connections to permanent housing.

“To really build the housing New Yorkers need, the state Legislature must pass a 421-a replacement, allow more office conversions, and lift the cap on housing in Midtown Manhattan,” Mr. Adams said in a statement online. 

Ms. Gelinas broadly agreed with Mayor Adams’s reluctance to provide housing vouchers without a shelter system stay.

“I don’t think we should make it easier to access housing vouchers,” she said. “I think it’s too much spending for the city.”

The Tulane University graduate also noted that drivers entering Manhattan in cars this spring can expect to be charged congestion pricing.

Last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved the measure to increase revenue.

“This congestion pricing money will pay for one portion of one five-year capital plan,” Ms. Gelinas said. “In another couple of years, they are going to be right back needing another major source of revenue to rival congestion pricing.”

Ms. Gelinas said that she supports the commuter tax in theory but questions the timing and whether the city has fully recovered from the effects of COVID-19.

“Some number of people switched from taking the commuter train or taking the commuter bus to driving into the city,” she added. “Do you want to do something that deters them from doing that and deters them from coming into the city altogether? You really would want to wait until you’ve recovered before doing that.”

State Assemblywoman Jaime Williams, a Democrat representing District 59, introduced AB 808413 in opposition and to enact an exemption that would benefit the city’s transit-desert pockets.

“My district, in particular, is very residential,” Ms. Williams told The Epoch Times. “We are heavily dependent on cars. We do have the buses, but we don’t have any trains. We don’t need to be paying this price. It’s an extra tax on us.”

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