Mayor's WINS Address
Hear the Mayor's Message
In 1993, New York City faced a $2 billion budget deficit, and was burdened by short-sighted economic policies that would have created an even gloomier fiscal future for the City. Today, in large part because we've made difficult and prudent budget decisions year after year, our economy has turned around.
This week, I submitted the Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2000, which continues on the disciplined course that has transformed the City's fiscal condition. Despite a vibrant economy that helps us to present the largest surplus in the City's history, we're still decreasing City spending for Fiscal Year 2000. We continue to reduce out-year budget gaps, and extend the Budget Stabilization Account first created two fiscal years ago. This is a time to strengthen our City's position, not to return to the undisciplined, high-spending policies of the past.
And we continue to make targeted tax reductions that will spur more job creation and further New York's transformation into a pro-opportunity, pro-business city. Over the last five years, we've implemented tax reductions that by 2003 will save taxpayers $8.8 billion, far more than any other administration in the history of the city. This budget includes tax cuts that will reduce the tax burden on New Yorkers by another $2.2 billion through Fiscal Year 2003.
Of course, we also need to increase spending in certain areas to help cement the progress of the last five years, and improve City services even more. Even though we now live in the very safest large city in America -- with overall crime reduced 50%, and murder reduced 70% over the last five years -- keeping this city safe, and making it safer, requires ongoing vigilance. So far this year, even though overall crime has declined by an additional 12 percent, the number of murders has risen slightly. To address this and make further progress, we propose investing $32 million in accelerating the graduation of the New York Police Department class scheduled for July 2000.
And to increase educational options for our children, I've proposed a limited, pilot voucher program that would enable low-income parents in one of our city's Community Schools Districts to send their children to the school of their choice, not the school the government requires them to attend. I think the time has come for us to discuss this proposal seriously, as one of many ways to answer the growing parental demand for alternatives, and to continue transforming our school system into a system that puts helping students achieve first, rather than protecting the jobs of employees irrespective of whether schools are improving.
Those are just two of the many initiatives in this budget that I believe will improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, particularly for our children. When all the changes are taken together, the net result is that with this budget, we not only balance our books and strengthen our fiscal condition, we enable New York City -- a city of individuals, families and businesses -- to continue strengthening itself. This is Rudy Giuliani.