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PR- 013-07
January 17, 2007


City Will Build on Successes of the Past to Take Next Steps Towards a Brighter Future

In his annual State of the City address, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined a far reaching and ambitious agenda that takes advantage of the unique position of strength that the City finds itself in as a result of five years of innovation, accountability and fiscal responsibility; to prepare New York for its strongest future. The Mayor's chief new initiatives are tax relief for homeowners and small businesses, a program designed to help low-income New Yorkers fully realize the Earned Income Tax Credit, elimination of the sales tax on clothing and shoes, and a package of educational reforms designed to foster innovation and continually increase accountability. Additionally, the Mayor announced he will unveil proposals to fight poverty; keep New York the world leader in financial services; increase government integrity and accountability; and programs to further fight illegal guns and reduce crime.

"New York is a success story, with people from all over the world wanting to come here. Our streets are cleaner and safer, our schools are better, our bond rating is up, and every where you look, you can see a renewed sense of hope in the projects that will transform our City in the future. Today, we must look at the next steps we need to take to continue on our path to a brighter future," said Mayor Bloomberg.

Enhancing Fiscal Responsibility:

"The sound fiscal policies of the past five years have allowed us to prepare for the future by putting money away for retirees health care and now to lower taxes and put money back in the pockets of our residents. To that end, my administration will cut taxes for hard working New Yorkers by $1 billion. This will pump money back into our neighborhoods, create jobs, help small businesses and decrease the burden on homeowners," said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced today that his administration would:

  • Lower the overall property tax rate by 5%, resulting in a $750 million savings to property owners;

  • Eliminate the City sales tax for all clothing and footwear, saving hardworking New Yorkers $110 million;

  • Continue the $400 property tax rebate;

  • Reduce the Unincorporated Business Tax through a combination of deductions and credits and three targeted reductions in the General Corporate Tax, including a credit to owners of small, or S, Corporations, which will save businesses $140 million,

  • Send pre-completed tax forms to nearly 125,000 households that are eligible for State and Federal Earned Income Tax Credits for 2003 and 2004, putting $170 million directly into the pockets of low income New Yorkers.

Improving Our Schools:

"Restructuring the school system was vital to improving performance, and today graduation rates are at a 20 year high and reading and math scores are up dramatically. But we have more to do and the proposals I am outlining for this year will make certain that our schools continue to get better and that our students are better prepared to compete in the global economy of the future," said Mayor Bloomberg.

In addition to asking the State Legislature to increase school choice by lifting the cap on charter schools, the Mayor announced a package of four major educational reforms including:

Empowering School Principals:

  • Principals will be given broader powers to determine what tools to use for support services;

  • These decisions will now be made entirely by principals and cannot be overruled by outside consultants or DOE officials;

  • The 32 school superintendents will have their roles expanded and will now report directly to the Chancellor, and

  • The regional offices will be eliminated, streamlining bureaucracy and saving money that will be redirected to classrooms.

Holding Schools Publicly Accountable:

  • Schools will be graded by an independent panel and reports with letter grades on school performance will be sent to every public school parent in the City.

Strengthening the System of Teacher Tenure:

  • The City will bring more accountability to the process of awarding tenure, by working with the UFT to change tenure from a default decision to an affirmative one; and

  • Principals will be expected to evaluate new teachers and support their professional growth.

  • The Mayor will ask the Chancellor for a formal report on all teacher tenure decisions.

Bringing Fairness to School Funding:

  • Funds will be redirected to correct inequities that currently result in a disparity of more than $2,000 annually for students at schools that may only be blocks apart.

Creating Jobs and Increasing Quality of Life:

"After an unprecedented year where we've continued to cut unemployment, create jobs and spur growth through ambitious projects like the extension of the #7 line, we must continue to make this City more economically competitive and continue to make it a great place to live and work," said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced:

  • Early next week, he will issue a joint set of recommendations with Senator Charles E. Schumer that will help to ensure New York City's continued leadership in global financial services;

  • A master plan for the South Bronx and Willets Point, Queens will be unveiled this year;

  • Jamaica, Coney Island and the 125th street corridor in Harlem will be rezoned to foster new business development;

  • The promotion and development of Columbia University's new campus-in a way that also meets the needs of its host West Harlem community.

  • This year the City will be launching "NYC Clean Streets" an initiative to make commercial corridors in all five boroughs more attractive;

  • The City will restore the 77th Street Façade of the Museum of Natural History, and renovate the New York Aquarium in Coney Island;

  • Construction will continue on Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn's largest new park in nearly 130 years; and

  • A groundbreaking will take place this year for the first playing fields in Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island.

Expanding Opportunity:

"It's not enough to put more money into the pockets of those in need; we must also provide the support and resources that will allow them to expand their opportunities." said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced that the City will:

  • Send pre-completed tax forms to help low income New Yorkers collect their Earned Income Tax Credit;

  • Have CUNY Community Colleges establish flexible schedule "tracks" to allow students to complete degree requirements, while tailoring their schedules around work or family obligations;

  • Expand the Nurse Family Partnership program, which helps young mothers with parenting and life skills, by more than 50%;

  • Open a Leadership Academy for Child Safety for ACS managers, who oversee the frontlines of protecting children; and

  • That the City will propose amending State law to give ACS the power to check criminal records when child abuse allegations arise.

Protecting Our City:

"It's time to hold our lawmakers in Albany and Washington accountable and to eliminate loopholes that allow the scourge of illegal guns to wreak havoc on our streets and to give local governments the tools that they need," said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced that:

  • The City will identify a new site to build a 21st century police academy, improving training and replacing the undersized one that currently exists;

  • The City will build on NYPD 's stepped-up enforcement activities, which last year increased gun arrests by 13%;

  • That information collected by NYPD and local DAs will be used to map illegal gun sales and expand monitoring of illegal gun traffickers;

  • The City will call on the Legislature to eliminate youthful offender status for any felony committed with a firearm;

  • Next week, Mayor Bloomberg will lead more than 50 mayors from across the country to lobby Congress to overturn a law that blocks local law enforcement access to federal data that would allow gun dealers to be held accountable;

  • This year, 911 and call centers will be equipped to receive digital images and videos from New Yorkers who are at the scene of an emergency, and 311 call centers will eventually be similarly equipped to allow the documentation of non-emergency quality of life concerns;

  • The City will launch the most significant restructuring of the juvenile justice system in decades;

  • For the first time the City will give judges objective, data-based analysis that will accurately assess the real threat posed by youth offenders;

  • The City will also provide access to dedicated truancy courts in Red Hook and Harlem - holding children and their families accountable for school attendance, and

  • The City will provide additional resources for the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Strengthening Government Accountability:

"It's time to end the pay-to-play culture in government and more importantly the 'three men in a room' culture that's been a pervasive problem here in New York. Both have made state government in New York a national symbol of dysfunction," said Mayor Bloomberg.

The Mayor announced that:

  • This year the City will propose replacing the State Board of Elections with the types of professional, nonpartisan agencies and commissions that other cities and nations already have to oversee their elections;

  • The City will work to abolish the Public Authorities Control Board;

  • He will seek a ban on contributions from anyone with business before government, and

  • He will support a constitutional amendment to bring merit selection of judges to New York.

Taking the Next Steps:

"Building on successes - sound fiscal policies - innovative policy strategies - The overhaul of our education system - the most expansive rezonings in decades - and programs to reduce crime and fight poverty, we can continue on to make New York an even better place to live and work," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We've come too far to rest on our laurels. Now is the time to continue to advance policies and goals that will continue our City on its upward trajectory."


Stu Loeser/John Gallagher   (212) 788-2958

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