I'd like to thank Macy's for hosting this event this morning to announce the elimination of the sales tax on clothing purchases under $110 dollars.
This is a very exciting morning for us. When I think of Macy's I think of Christmas, I think about the Macys Parade on Thanksgiving, and I think about the fireworks on the Fourth of July. But I also think about something else. I think about the fact that it was Macy's that helped us, and continues to help us, move people from Welfare to Work.
Macy's has been one of the prime participants in the program that been one of the most positive social movements in the history of the City of New York. We used to have 1.1 million people on welfare. We're now down below 700,000 people on welfare. We have about 440,000 fewer people dependent on the government to support them, and we've created 380,000 new private sector jobs. Macy's has been a big participant in helping people with entry level jobs, helping them get a start, helping them get an opportunity to take care of themselves.
I mention that because this is all connected to each other. This elimination of the sales tax on clothing purchases is probably one of the best things the City has been able to accomplish in a long time. Because it will mean that people who are hurt by the percentage of the income that has to go to buying clothes, are going to be helped. This is probably one of the most regressive taxes that exists - the sales tax.
But the second thing that its going to do is that its going to produce more jobs in New York City - maybe 10 to 15 thousand more - at Macy's, and lots of other retail stores. And its going to help many, many people that are moving - as part of that large number 440,000 - from welfare to work, to being able to take care of themselves. That's truly a progressive society.
So this is a big step. It's an important one. We've fought for it for four years. There were times in which I thought that this would never happen. There was tremendous resistance to eliminating this sales tax. I want to thank Governor Pataki, who supported it, signed it, and made it possible. Because without the State's permission and reduction of its portion of the sales tax, we wouldn't have been able to eliminate the sales tax. And I want to thank Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, both of whom supported this and supported it strongly, and Speaker Vallone and the City Council, all of whom had to be part of this process of eliminating the sales tax. And also, I want to thank Borough President Molinari, who was a particular sponsor of this, someone who supported it very strongly and used to make trips up to Albany, when a lot of people didn't believe in this, and a lot of people didn't want to do it.
So Congratulations, New York - the sales tax on clothing up to $110 dollars is eliminated.
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