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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live On WCBS 880

January 4, 2016

Paul Murnane: And it’s 7:04 at WCBS. If you’re a worker in New York City, you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars on your commute this year.

Wayne Cabot: And Mayor de Blasio’s on the news line right now. Mr. Mayor, you’re going to be handing out some flyers about this pretty soon at the Atlantic Avenue Barclays subway station. So tell us how this law works and how it’s going to benefit us.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, first of all, happy New Year to both of you, and congratulations – your first day together as the morning team, so I commend you.

Cabot: Thank you very much.

Murnane: Thank you.

Cabot: And we’re learning how to wake up at this hour.

Mayor: You know what? It’s a good thing. It’s a valuable skill. So, look, this is a very good thing for almost half-a-million New Yorkers. It means they will have an absolute right to take advantage of this benefit. And this is a law that we passed just a few months ago and I signed into law. And I have to say, Senator Chuck Schumer did a great job, because we needed some help on the federal side, too, and he helped achieve it. But here’s the deal, if you work for any company with 20 or more employees, you automatically have a right to this benefit. And it’s based on using pre-tax income to pay for your transit needs. So it saves – many New Yorkers can save as much as $800 dollars a year because of having access to this benefit. Now, before, a lot of companies didn’t offer it. Now, again, it will be the law. It will be mandatory for any company 20 employees or more. And, again, people can save as much as $800 dollars a year, which is real money to a lot of New Yorkers.

Murnane: You’ll be standing out there – it’ll be pretty cold this morning – you’ll certainly be feeling it. We’ve been reporting on the governor’s executive order to remove the homeless when temperatures fall below freezing. And I think the question is, can the governor do this? Is this legal, Mr. Mayor?

Mayor: Well, right now, we already have very, very active outreach whenever there’s very cold weather. By the way, when there’s very hot weather, we’re going to have heat alerts, too. And we take anyone off the street we believe is in imminent danger. That’s something NYPD does. That’s something our outreach workers do through our Homeless Services department. So we have that capacity right now under state law – and we have done that for years and we will continue to do it. Now we have new tools like our HOME-STAT effort – that’s our citywide outreach effort that I announced last month, where we’re going to put a really substantial number – hundreds of outreach workers and NYPD’s officers – out, making sure constantly that if anyone’s in need, we get them in and we offer them the services they need. 

Cabot: Mr. Mayor, before you run, I see you’re going to be talking about crime numbers in the city. What are you going to be talking about later on?

Mayor: Oh, it’s fantastic. I’ll be standing with Commissioner Bratton later on. We had a very good 2015 – the lowest number of overall crimes that we’ve ever had in terms of serious crime. As you know, shootings went down, gun arrests went up – very, very strong performance in 2015. And the good news? By the end of 2016, we’ll have 2,000 more cops on the street because of actions we took in the last budget. So I think 2016 is going to be even better. 

Cabot: And these numbers are all legit, despite what former commissioner Kelly’s been talking about?

Mayor: Absolutely. Look, Commissioner Bratton has spoken to that very clearly – and a number of senior NYPD officials who served under both of them have said – it’s the exact same numbers, the exact same methodology being used under Bratton as was used under Kelly. Look, as Commissioner Bratton said, he offered Commissioner Kelly an opportunity to come forward with any specifics. We would welcome any knowledge. Look, if there’s someone down the food chain who’s not treating these numbers properly, we want to know about it, but no evidence has come forward, has been offered. And Commissioner Bratton has an extraordinary reputation over decades for making this city safer and many other cities safer. I’m absolutely confident in his leadership. And look, these numbers say that, once again, he’s driven down crime. 

Murnane: Mayor de Blasio, joining us live on the news line this morning, bundling up, and he’ll be out in Brooklyn this morning – and New Yorkers can start taking advantage of this tax break right now – it’s automatic, right?

Mayor: It’s automatic. And anyone who wants find out how they can save money on their transit bills, on their morning commute, they can call 3-1-1 or go to Again, a new benefit available to up to half-a-million more New Yorkers – and you can save hundreds each year now. 

Cabot: Mr. Mayor, thanks so much.

Murnane: Oh, I think CBS has more than 50 employees.

Cabot: I think we could qualify under this program. 

Murnane: Well, when we’re riding the subway at 3 o’clock in the morning, we can get that tax break.

Cabot: There you go. We look forward to it. 

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