And this year, the plan reflects the good news that New York City is realizing some tangible benefits from the upturn in our economy as well as from the difficult decisions that were necessary in the preparation and adoption of the last three budgets.
Since 1993, we've reduced the size of city government by approximately 21,000 employees, and a cumulative $8.9 billion has been removed from projected expenditures.
And it is now, when city government is realizing additional revenue, that we can make decisions that will determine the future financial strength of New York City.
As the plan clearly demonstrates, I believe that we should learn from the mistakes of the past and not use additional resources to expand city government to a size that inhibits private-sector growth. Rather, we must use these resources for three purposes: to reduce the projected budget gaps of the future, which are known as our out-year gaps; to reinvest in the private sector through targeted tax reductions; and to meet the important needs of New Yorkers, particularly the needs of our public schools and the need for public safety.
In the proposed plan, we've reduced our out-year gaps to the lowest cumulative amount since 1992, and since the release of last year's financial plan, we've reduced those gaps by 54.2 percent.
In the area of taxes, we have enacted more tax reductions in the last three years than in the previous 18 years combined. These reductions will have returned more than $3.1 billion to the private sector during the span of this financial plan, and help to produce jobs, and increasingly more jobs for New Yorkers.
And now, in partnership with the City Council and the State, we must work to enact the balance of our tax program, particularly including an end to the sales tax on most clothing and shoe purchases, which would help so many New Yorkers.
Additionally our budget calls for some increased spending to meet the critical needs of our citizens, including additional funding for the expansion of our anti-drug initiative to continue to improve our quality of life.
Most important, we must invest more money in our children, and our budget calls for increases for the Administration for Children's Services, and particularly it calls for increased targeted spending for our public schools and projects such as the one that will make certain that all schoolchildren have current textbooks; and for "Project Read" to improve the reading skills of our students; and for "Project Smart Schools" to furnish our schools with computers; and for the establishment of six Second Opportunity Schools to make our schools safer. We also have provided funding to increase seating capacity, and we have initiated a program to return comprehensive arts education for all of our children in our schools.
The key to our future lies in the decisions we make now, now that our city is realizing additional revenues. By reducing the deficits we face in the future, by reinvesting in our private sector through tax reductions, and by meeting the critical needs of New Yorkers, we can ensure that New York City solidifies and expands its role as the capital of the world.
In closing, I would just like to remind everyone that the federal government is accepting applications for the Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery between February 3rd and March 5th. This is a program for recent immigrants to our country, and can be an important first step on the road to becoming a citizen of the United States. I urge any listener who is an immigrant and needs the lottery to apply. I urge any listener who is an immigrant to pay attention to this program, and if applicable, to put in an application. For information on the Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery, please contact the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs at (212) 487-4444.
From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.