FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW INITIATIVES TO HELP NEW YORKERS FACE CURRENT ECONOMIC CHALLENGES 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, November 2, 2008
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"The economic downturn is increasing the financial stresses on working and middle class New Yorkers. City agencies are also feeling the pinch, and tightening their belts, too. But we've still got a duty to help. So last week, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, we announced a range of initiatives to help New Yorkers during these hard times.
"Our number one challenge is to keep New Yorkers working, and to help those without jobs get back to work. That's why, although we'll stretch out our capital spending, it will still be greater than at any time in City history. During this fiscal year alone, we'll invest $10.4 billion to build schools, roads, hospitals, and other infrastructure projects. That will generate some 25,000 construction-related jobs. Using nearly $5 million in new State funds, we'll also step up job training and placement. We're going to provide on-line information to office workers and support staff laid off from financial services jobs. And we're going to intensify efforts to grow green jobs, like working on making existing buildings more energy-efficient.
"Because small businesses are the backbone of New York's economy, we're creating a new capital access loan program that will, for example, help small businesses and non-profit groups meet their payrolls. And we're asking the City Council to pass a law stretching out property tax payments on businesses and residences valued at less than $250,000. That will ease the cash-flow crunch that many are experiencing.
"To prevent the home foreclosures that undermine community stability, we're raising private funds for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. Created in cooperation with the City Council last December, it's already helped thousands of New Yorkers stay in their homes. We'll also use $24 million in new Federal funds to buy and renovate homes lost in foreclosures, and sell them at affordable prices to low- and middle-income buyers.
"Today, too many families are on shaky financial ground. Focusing on the communities most in need, we'll raise private funds to establish five new financial empowerment centers, similar to an already-successful center providing confidential, one-on-one financial counseling in the Bronx. And tomorrow, we'll launch a public service ad campaign reminding financially distressed New Yorkers they can find help by calling the City's public services hotline at 311.
"We're also taking steps to combat rising food costs. Along with the City Council, we're committing $1.3 million for additional frozen fruits and vegetables for emergency food programs. We'll use new Federal funds to ensure that seniors who qualify for Food Stamps receive them. And we'll work with public school principals to give more students the option of eating free and nutritious brown-bag breakfasts during their first-period classes.
"With tax revenues falling, big new City spending programs would be the wrong response to the economic downturn. But City agencies can do what these initiatives accomplish - make swift and focused efforts to help New Yorkers help themselves.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Before signing off, this reminder - in recent weeks, we've had tragic fires at homes lacking working smoking detectors. Take a few minutes today to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. And thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958