Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis unveiled a plan to expand the City’s services aimed at assisting the severely mentally ill, but was unable to provide any estimate of the overall cost of her multi-point plan or how she would pay such costs. Speaking Monday at a City Hall press conference, Malliotakis outlined a twelve point plan, available on her campaign website, which includes extensive legal efforts at locating and mandating treatment of mentally ill persons, building 30,000 units of supportive housing and expanding the psychiatric bed capacity in City hospitals.
I asked Malliotakis for the estimated cost of these extensive increases in City services and whether she intends to reduce other City spending in order to pay for these expanded services. She did not provide any cost estimates, arguing only that on a per-person cost creating supportive housing units will ultimately reduce City spending as such housing is less expensive than the cost of incarceration. While her proposal appears to be a serious effort at addressing very difficult problems, a cost estimate is a fundamental part of moving any such ideas to reality. Malliotakis has frequently criticized the growth in the City budget under Mayor de Blasio, but has not publicly identified any reductions that she supports. Estimating a cost of this plan is a necessary element of deciding whether to further increase the City budget with the costs of this plan or to select other City spending to cut as a source of funding.
Here’s our exchange, with followup questions from Anna Sanders of the Staten Island Advance and Jill Jorgensen of the Daily News: