Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg delivered his eighth annual State of the City address today at Brooklyn College in Flatbush, detailing his agenda to move New York City through the national economic downturn. He outlined a three-pronged strategy to strengthen the City’s economy by creating a comprehensive job growth program, maintaining and improving quality of life and finding new efficiencies throughout city government, while also protecting core city services.
“Our plan has three main parts: one, spurring and supporting job growth in all five boroughs. Two, strengthening the quality of life in every neighborhood, so recession does not lead to disinvestment and abandonment, as it has in the past. And three, stretching every dollar further and holding agencies accountable for delivering results for the New Yorkers who need them now more than ever.”
Spurring and Supporting Job Growth
“In the three years leading up to the recession, we outperformed the nation by creating a quarter-million new jobs outside of financial services. Unfortunately, we haven’t been spared from recent job losses, and given the direction of the national economy many more are on the way. But dwelling on the bad news won’t make it any better. Today, I’ll outline a nine-point plan that will allow us to retain and create as many jobs as possible now and 400,000 jobs over the next six years, in all five boroughs.”
The Mayor announced that the Administration will createjobs through a nine-point plan that includes:
- Investing in new infrastructure.
- Funding a record $10 billion-plus in public works projects like the Number 7 Train Extension, new libraries in Queens and Brooklyn, a new police precinct in Staten Island and a Police Academy in Queens, creating more than 25,000 jobs.
- Seeking federal funding for new air traffic control systems for the airports.
- Continuing to make investments that diversify our economy.
- Investing $100 million towards the modernization of the Hunts Point produce terminal.
- Beginning development at Willets Point and renovate the Queens Museum of Art.
- Making the Howland Hook container terminal even bigger.
- Creating space for a major new beer distribution terminal that will bring 600 new jobs to the Red Hook waterfront.
- Continuing to attract world class events and conferences that support tourism-related jobs in all five boroughs.
- Supporting growth in media, fashion and medical sectors.
- Focusing on small business growth.
- Providing emergency loans so small businesses can meet payrolls and keep their doors open.
- Launching more Business Improvement Districts.
- Building new workspaces for artists.
- Improving the ability of local IT firms to compete for City contracts.
- Targeting tax relief to encourage businesses to make new investments.
- Aligning tax laws with those in other states to close loopholes and end unnecessary tax burdens.
- Ending or reducing the Unincorporated Business Tax for 17,000 small businesses.
- Changing tax policies that discourage local job creation.
- Making it easier to do business with the city.
- Enabling online applications to the City’s Business Express website – which facilitates licenses and permits for those who seek to start a business.
- Bringing together agencies that work with housing and commercial developers and holding them accountable for delays and problems.
- Making illustrations of developers’ plans accessible online and giving community residents a formal role in the review process.
- Improving the way city agencies manage environmental review functions by reducing costs and delays for small property owners that seek development approvals.
- Growing New York City’s “green economy.”
- Increasing training of New Yorkers for green-collar jobs.
- Spurring job growth by spending $900 million over nine years on energy retrofits in city agencies, hospitals, cultural institutions, and public schools.
- Identifying the best places in the five boroughs to generate wind power.
- Doubling the production of solar power.
- Training more New Yorkers and matching them to industries seeking to hire.
- Increasing Workforce One Career center job placement goal this year to 20,000.
- Opening new Workforce centers.
- Streamlining the City’s job training programs.
- Encouraging work.
- Seeking federal funds for a pilot program that offers jobs to struggling students – on the condition that they stay in school.
- Creating a new “Jobs Plus” initiative to train public housing residents for higher-paying jobs so they can remain in their apartments as their incomes rise.
- Maintaining New York City as the strongest world financial capital.
- Launch new job training programs focused on the skills valued by small firms.
- Creating an “entrepreneur boot camp” for laid-off financial services workers and others interesting in starting their own companies.
- Pairing academic institutions that see value in creating incubator space for new start-ups with landlords that have vacant space.
- Providing additional seed funding to high-tech start-ups – partnering with angel investors to increase the available funding from $40 million to $50 million.
- Re-deploying more than $30 million in federal financial incentives.
Improving Quality of Life
“In fact, the best thing that we can do for Wall Street, and for every corner store in the City, is the second leg of our economic recovery strategy: Continue to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. And make no mistake – we will.”
“It all begins with public safety – the bedrock of society that makes economic growth possible. Today, according to FBI statistics, we remain the safest big city in the country, an achievement that we should never take for granted. Crime is at a more than 40-year low, nearly 30 percent lower than it was just seven years ago.”
This year, to continue to keep streets safe, the City will:
- Identify the top 12 quality of life offenders in each borough for special attention by police and prosecutors.
- Propose a new State law: commit six or more quality of life crimes within two years, and the next one will be a felony.
- Open a Family Justice Center in the Bronx.
- Develop a computer database that allows the NYPD to step up its home interventions.
- Deploy cameras in problem locations in the three precincts with the highest murder rates.
- Begin using GPS technology to enforce court orders keeping gang members out of public housing.
- Work with Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council to require the City’s own gun dealers to follow ten basic practices to reduce sales to illegal traffickers.
- Sign an Executive Order directing all City agencies to submit mental health records to the Justice Department’s background check system on gun sales.
- Ask the State Legislature to require all guns sold in New York to include micro-stamping technology and to require gun dealers to conduct background checks on everyone they hire.
- Continue to deploy license plate readers at all the bridges and tunnels coming into lower Manhattan.
- Continue to test new software that can pick up suspicious movements from cameras.
- Increase the number of officers trained and equipped with heavy weapons, and who can respond to simultaneous, multiple attacks.
- Take the Notify NYC emergency communications program citywide.
- Unify the Fire and Police dispatch systems in a new call–taking center.
Strengthening our Neighborhoods
“Safe streets are so important to our everyday lives and our economy. But they’re not enough to build strong communities that are attractive to the middle class and those working to enter it. That also requires building affordable housing, preserving the character of neighborhoods, and opening parks and playgrounds. This year, we’ll do more of each.”
To create green and more affordable neighborhoods, the Administration will:
- Lay the ground work for thousands of new jobs and affordable homes in Coney Island, Willets Point, and Hunters Point South.
- Create a new landmark district in Ridgewood.
- Rezone Flatbush to create more affordable housing and protect its Victorian character.
- Create a $62 million fund (an increase from the $24 million fund announced in October) to buy, renovate, and resell recently-foreclosed homes.
- Propose State legislation to make it more difficult to commit mortgage fraud.
- Open dozens more school playgrounds to neighborhood kids and plant over 100,000 more trees.
- Open a waterfront park on the Bronx River.
Improving Public Education
“Protecting our quality of life also means creating something that too many New Yorkers went without for too long: top quality public schools,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We went from endless excuses for failure, to high expectations for achievement, and the numbers speak for themselves.”
To continue improvement in City schools, the Mayor announced:
- He will press the State Legislature to reauthorize mayoral control of city schools.
- The opening of more than 50 new schools, providing seats for nearly 15,000 students throughout the five boroughs.
- The launch of “Parent Connect,” a program that will harness the power of 311 to allow parents to easily find information about admissions, transportation, and other everyday matters.
- Parents will be given access to an online program to track their child’s learning through the year.
Stretching Every Dollar Further
“But just as families are scaling back and stretching dollars further, government must do the same. And we will, while at the same time strengthening our social safety net. That’s the third and final piece of our recovery strategy – and we have a strong record to build on. In the months ahead, we’ll continue stretching taxpayer dollars further, by being more efficient and effective.”
To increase efficiency and accountability in government, the City will:
- Consolidate City government’s 55 data centers.
- Cut the City’s non-emergency vehicle fleet by 10 percent.
- Appoint a regulatory review panel to strip away rules that unnecessarily burden city agencies, consumers, and businesses.
- Push the Port Authority to keep the Freedom Tower and memorial on schedule.
- Press to have the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation folded into the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, reducing an unnecessary layer of government.
- Reduce cost of public construction by increasing competition for contracts.
- Work with Governor David Paterson to further reform, or repeal, Wicks Law.
- Continue to advocate for the creation of a new pension tier that will save taxpayers $5.4 billion over the next 20 years.
- Improve the fuel efficiency of City vehicles, experiment with hybrid-powered patrol cars and sanitation collection trucks and use ten new electronic vehicles (provided free by BMW) for the Street Conditions Operations Unit (SCOUT) as a part of a study of electric cars for City use.
- Explore a pilot program for multiple-fare taxi and livery rides from airports, train stations and other select locations.
- Create financial incentives for shelters to help clients find housing sooner.
- Activate online forms for seniors applying for rent exemptions.
- Intensify efforts to crackdown on Medicaid fraud.
- Make more free computers available in 100 libraries, senior centers, public housing community rooms, and other facilities around the city.
- Provide technical assistance to not-for-profits and increase their access to loans.
Engaging New Yorkers in Increased Public Service
“Public-private partnerships have been essential to our success, and now, as the City tightens its belt further, we’ll need the help of public-spirited citizens and businesses more than ever. President-elect Obama has said that he will challenge the nation to embrace a new era of public service and New York City will lead the way.”
The Mayor announced today that:
- The City will launch a major new citywide public service initiative.
- He has asked for a blueprint of a plan, submitted in 60 days, that will bring together leaders in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sectors to develop strategies to engage more New Yorkers in service opportunities.
- The plan will meet President-elect Obama’s call to embrace a new era of public service.
“We are New Yorkers – together. We have always rallied from every setback – together. We have always emerged even stronger than before – together. And now as one city, with one common destiny, we’ll do it again. By never fearing, never quitting, never accepting failure, and always believing that our best days, and the best days for this great city, are still to come.”