New York City lawmakers have approved an austere budget that will shift $US1 billion from policing to education and social services in the coming year, acknowledging protesters' demands to cut police spending - but falling short of what activists sought.
The vote by the City Council came at an extraordinary moment when the nation's biggest city is grappling with a $US9 billion revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic and simultaneously with pressure to cut back on policing and invest more in community and social programs.
Protesters have been camped outside City Hall, insisting that the city slash $US1 billion from the New York Police Department's budget amid a nationwide campaign to "defund" police - a movement animated by outrage over the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans at the hands of police.
Critics of the deal said the billion dollar cut wasn't a billion dollar cut at all. Some of the funding reduction, they noted, was merely shifting police functions like school safety to the Department of Education. And they doubted the promised reduction in overtime would ever happen.
Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the $US88.2 billion spending plan. Council Speaker Corey Johnson said when the budget deal was announced on Tuesday that it wasn't what he had hoped for, and lamented he hadn't been unable to negotiate a bigger police budget cut.
"I am disappointed," Johnson said at a news conference. "I did my best."
The proposal did little to assuage the demonstrators. Many said they intended to stay outside City Hall indefinitely.
The NYPD budget is now around $US6 billion, plus several billion dollars more in shared city expenses such as pensions.
The new plan calls for an ambitious, nearly $US300 million cut in police overtime. The department paid out $US115 million in overtime just during recent protests over Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis.
The city budget totalled nearly $US93 billion when passed last June. Before the virus hit, de Blasio proposed a more than $95 billion spending plan for the budget year that starts on Wednesday.