These New Yorkers, many of whom are elderly or on fixed incomes, would be hurt if the laws are not extended or if we engage in some form of vacancy decontrol.
I believe when determining government policy it is helpful to learn from history. Many of New York City's successes in areas such as the reduction of crime... the creation of 140,000 private sector jobs... the landmark school reforms... have been guided guided by the lessons of history.
What's being debated in Albany right now is whether we should engage in a form of vacancy decontrol. Governor Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Bruno are in favor of various forms of vacancy decontrol -- Speaker Silver is not.
One of the reasons why New York City believes we shouldn't engage in a form of vacancy decontrol is that we have already attempted this before and found it to be a terrible mistake. In 1971, the state legislature instituted vacancy decontrol and then had to repeal it under the leadership of Governor Rockefeller in 1974.
The Stein Commission that analyzed vacancy decontrol concluded that it resulted in average rent increases in previously rent controlled units by more than 52% and in previously rent stabilized units by 19%. The Commission also concluded that vacancy decontrol had placed an extreme hardship on the tenants of this state, particularly on the elderly and the poor, in the form of increased rent and insecurity.
Again, I urge the legislators in Albany to extend rent stabilization and not to engage in the same form of vacancy decontrol we've already found to be a mistake in 1971.
Let me also reassure the people of this city on one point that has been somewhat confusing. Rent control in New York City has already been extended. The 70,000 people now living in rent-controlled apartments are not affected by State action, because rent control protective measures were extended by the New York City Council and signed into law by myself on March 31, 1997.
If the City had the same authority to continue rent stabilization as we do rent control, and it hadn't been taken away from us by the state, you would be certain that rent stabilization would also be continued.
As Mayor I have always been guided by the belief that the government closest to the people is the most effective. The political leadership -- both Democratic and Republican -- in New York City is overwhelmingly in favor of extending rent stabilization laws without vacancy decontrol because they have a profound understanding of the concerns of the people of New York City. It is the poltiical leadership outside of the city of New York that has decided that this would not be in our best interest.
New York City is leading the nation in a number of areas. New York City is the economic engine of this state and we believe that our view should be given due consideration rather than be pushed aside. The City generates more than 45 percent of the state's revenues; it represents 41 percent of the state's population, and has contributed greatly to the state's improving fiscal climate. The fact is we give more to the state than we get back in return.
In these final hours, I hope that the legislators in Albany take this into serious consideration. It is a matter of having proper respect for the people of this city. Almost all of us are united in that we want to see the rent stabilization laws continue without engaging in a form of vacancy decontrol.
However, if these laws are not extended before the law sunsets at midnight tonight, New York City will be prepared.
Last Wednesday I announced that the City has created a Rent Stabilization Inter-Agency Task Force to help people understand their legal rights and be protected against various forms of harrassment. The task force will be chaired by Deputy Mayor Mastro, with Jerry Hauer, Director of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management as executive director.
The Rent Stabilization Task Force will offer City residents information, legal assistance, housing assistance, and protection against potential harassment. Yesterday at 6 AM as part of this overall effort, the City also established three separate hotlines to deal with specific issues of tenant harassment, answer legal questions, and assist the elderly, disabled and hearing impaired.
The phone numbers are as follows... For those New Yorkers who may have any questions or feel that they are being harrassed, please call 212-487-6633... For those who have questions or legal concerns, please call 212-487-5858... For those who are hearing impaired, please call 212-487-7010...
This hotline is intended to address the specific needs and individual concerns of New Yorkers. In the meantime, we will continue to urge the legislators Albany to respect the wishes of the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers. In closing, on a much happier note, I'd like to wish all the families of this city a very Happy Father's Day. From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.