FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES THE 2008 PRELIMINARY BUDGET IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, January 28, 2007
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"New Yorkers expect City leaders to balance the budget and that involves more than just making sure that we don't spend more than what the City takes in. It also means balancing other important goals, too: Maintaining our quality of life; investing in our future; operating City agencies efficiently; and managing City finances wisely.
"I believe that we harmonized all those objectives last week with our preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2008 (the 12-month period that begins this July 1st), as well as with the financial plan through Fiscal 2011 that we also presented.
"There was certainly good budgetary news. The continued strong economy, which produced our lowest-ever annual unemployment rate in 2006, is expected to bring our surplus tax revenues to $3.9 billion. Those surplus funds allow us to take a number of fiscally responsible steps, including providing the $1 billion in tax relief that I outlined in the State of the City earlier this month.
"As part of that package, we're proposing job-creating tax cuts for businesses, and the elimination of the City portion of the sales tax on clothing and footwear, as well as a one-year, $750 million reduction in property taxes. Combined with our $400 annual tax rebate, this will more than offset the higher tax bills created by the 2003 property tax increase for most homeowners in Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. It's simply the right thing to do for people who carried the city through its darkest days. If our economy continues to grow, we'll seek to extend the property tax cut in the years to come, although right now, its wiser to take a "wait and see" approach. And because we've also got to cover future City costs, we'll put $500 million of our surplus revenue into a trust fund to pay for the health care of City retirees, and commit $1.4 billion to closing the gap we foresee in the City budget for Fiscal 2009.
"We've made improving education the City's number one priority and for five years, our budgets have backed that up. We're now spending $3 ½ billion more a year in City tax dollars on our schools than we did in 2002. Now, we'll add $2.2 billion more to that during the next four years. We're also planning a $28.4 billion investment in new and renovated schools between now and 2017, so that our students have the classrooms, gyms, libraries, and labs they need for a first-rate education. And continuing our current 50/50 partnership on school construction, we expect half of those funds to come from the State government.
"We're also investing in major job-creating projects throughout the city, from expanding the Javits Convention Center, to enlarging the Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial center, to redeveloping the Homeport area on Staten Island. These and projects like them will spur the creation of more private sector jobs and keep our economy growing.
"It's precisely because of such sound long-term investments over the past five years, combined with the sometimes difficult but ultimately wise budget choices that we've made, that New York City is in such good financial shape today. And our proposed budget for the next fiscal year will keep our city strong and growing.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958