This week, I released the City's four year Financial Plan, a plan that will help New York's strong economy grow stronger and more stable as we meet the challenges of the next century.
Over the last four years, we have revolutionized the fiscal philosophy in New York City, creating a sound, smart budget. A vibrant economy is now producing record revenue for the second straight year, with a surplus of $1.2 billion, and a higher percentage job growth than the city has ever witnessed. But that doesn't mean that it's time to relax or start raising taxes. Instead, we will continue the careful and balanced approach that turned the city around.
That's why we'll keep a lid on City spending. The budget for the next fiscal year will grow by less than one percent. Why is this so important? Because taxpayers deserve a government that plans for the future +- one that cuts taxes to create job growth and spends wisely to enhance your quality of life.
Already we've enacted more than $2 billion in tax cuts. We now plan to eliminate taxes that will return another $2 billion over the next four years to our families and businesses. We plan to completely eliminate the commercial rent tax, give child care tax credits to working families, and cut the sales tax completely on all clothing and shoes starting this December.
Also in this financial plan, we will spend additional money to keep improving the quality of life in the city. Our coordinated anti-drug initiative will expand to every borough to make sure that drugs and drug dealers are driven from our neighborhoods and schools. We will strengthen our commitment to keep crime going down by hiring 1,600 new police officers, and we'll move even more welfare recipients off the rolls and into jobs so that they can lead self-sufficient lives. This financial plan also recognizes the importance of educating our children. So we will fund a new program to end social promotions for third graders unable to meet fourth grade requirements and establish night courses for high school students who can't graduate on time.
Finally, we must restore standards to CUNY community colleges. As it stands now, 87 percent of the students entering CUNY community colleges cannot do 10th and 11th grade work. These students may have a high school degree, but they do not have a high school education. And when they arrive at CUNY, they make little progress.
We propose that the portion of CUNY community colleges which is not doing college level work be removed from CUNY control and a wide range of educational institutions be permitted to bid and compete for running the new high school completion programs. The goal is for students to earn a certificate that is an accurate reflection of a high school education. At the same time, students remaining in the CUNY community college system will benefit from an actual college education.
I am eager to get to work with the City Council and all New Yorkers to make these proposals a reality -- and to keep improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers.