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  May 4, 2004

New York City’s Economy on the Rise
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

New York City’s economy is on the rebound. Unemployment, while still too high, is falling; last month, it dropped below 8% citywide for the first time since 2002. And during the first quarter of this year, we gained almost 24,000 new jobs.

Those new jobs are coming to every borough. Last Wednesday, for example, I helped cut the first board at the new Lowe’s home improvement center in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. That giant store, which stands to capitalize on Brooklyn’s ongoing housing boom, has created 320 well-paying jobs with good benefits. On Staten Island, an extension of the wharf at Howland Hook is underway. When it’s finished later this year, it will add 200 permanent jobs, and make the marine terminal there competitive with port facilities in New Jersey. And in the Bronx on Thursday, we unveiled plans for the spectacular new Gateway Center that will be developed at the site of the Bronx Terminal Market near Yankee Stadium. It will include a million square feet of new retail space that will replace what are now underused and decaying warehouses. And it will create 2,100 new, permanent jobs.

New York’s economy is growing again because our Administration has made the city more livable, most business-friendly, and more economically diverse. Crime is 17% lower than it was at this time three years ago. Our streets are cleaner than they’ve been in 30 years, and safer for pedestrians and motorists than they’ve been in 90 years. New housing permits hit a record last year—more evidence that people like what New York has to offer.

New York City’s growing economy is also the result of our making the right choices about the City’s budget. We’ve shown how to do more with less. We’ve improved the quality of life and continued to make the investments that grow new jobs for New Yorkers, while cutting City spending by more than $3 billion over the last two years.

Last week, our Administration released the Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2005, the 12-month period that begins July 1st. It keeps the City on the right track. Fiscal restraint is essential; otherwise, we’ll squander the gains we’ve made and be right back where we started. We can’t afford to spend our way back into a crisis.

At the same time, by providing targeted tax rebates to homeowners, our budget gives relief to the people who sacrificed the most to help New York City during the fiscal crisis. A competing proposal just seeks to give multi-million dollar tax givebacks to energy companies, wealthy corporations and landlords doing little to help everyday New Yorkers. But our annual $400 tax rebates will pump $250 million back into the City’s neighborhoods—money that will help keep New York’s economy growing and producing more jobs.