Assessing-and Improving-the State of the City
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
This past Thursday, I delivered my seventh State of the City speech. I'd like to briefly discuss with you some of the subjects that I covered in that speech.
Ideas matter. That's why I'm proud that we've become a city that isn't afraid of new ideas-because the only way to continue moving forward is to try new things that might improve people's lives rather than cynically dismissing or even fearing change.
In that spirit, I was proud to unveil a number of new important initiatives that can sustain and continue many of the gains this city has made. For instance, I announced that on the law enforcement front we'll create a major new state-of-the-art DNA database, which will enable professionally trained law enforcement officials to move much more effectively to catch and convict criminals and, just as importantly, exonerate innocent people. We'll also implement strategies to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers by redoubling our efforts to protect the elderly and dramatically expanding the school safety division.
In the area of education, we need to take a number of very important steps. We have to eliminate the Board of Education and all 32 local boards-which is why I'm proposing that we sell the current Board of Education headquarters in downtown Brooklyn and have the bureaucracy move into a new, modern building with 25 percent of the capacity of the current facility. This will allow us to take the money that we're wasting on bureaucracy and put it into the classrooms and the schools. The education of children has to come first. We have to make that our top priority, rather than protecting people's jobs or doing something else. That's why I've also proposed creating a citywide public school choice program to create competition and improve achievement. I've proposed privatizing summer school programs and allowing chronically failing schools to be managed by private projects with proven records of success.
We'll also implement a significant new initiative to expand health insurance to the working uninsured put in place a broad-based strategy to increase home ownership all throughout the city, because that's ultimately the best way to keep our neighborhoods and our communities safe and strong.
Finally, we're committed to reducing taxes by another $2 billion-adding to the $2.4 billion in reductions that have already in place-and to building major new economic development projects in all five boroughs to keep up the record job creation that is now going on in the city.
The state of the City is sound. It's strong. But we can't rest. It's imperative that we keep the policies, and most importantly, the ideas in place that will ensure that New York City-and its newfound spirit of success and optimism-continue moving in the right direction for years to come. Finally, I want to encourage everyone to go out and buy clothing this week-because it's tax-free week for all items of clothing and shoes $500 or less. Help send the message that the most effective economic development and job creation policies are ones that reduce burdens on the private sector and the people of the city. Shop this week. Shop without having to pay the sales tax on clothing items of $500 or less. Remember in March, the sales tax on all clothing and shoes of $110 or less will be permanently removed. This is Rudy Giuliani.
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