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State of the City: Mayor presents priorities for city budget


Tackling the city’s affordability crisis and creating good paying jobs are at the top of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s priorities for the last year of his term in office.

The mayor announced his plans at the State of the City address on Feb. 13 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Praising the State of the City address, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “This continues to be a drastic departure from the 20 years of ‘trickle down’ policy that preceded him.”

“We have to drive incomes up,” de Blasio said at his annual speech.

De Blasio said he would push for a “mansion tax,” an extra charge on home sales of more than $2 million. The new tax would generate $335 million a year.

All told, the mayor wants to create 100,000 new “good-paying” jobs of at least $50,000 within 10 years. He also plans to create a program to train 3,000 workers to retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient.

At City Hall on Jan. 24, the mayor announced his preliminary $84.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2018. The budget allocates funds to create hundreds of new jobs and make city streets safer.

It includes $6.3 million to hire 200 additional School Crossing Guards and 100 School Crossing Guard Supervisors.

“This is great news for parents, teachers and the kids,” said Shaun D. Francois I, president of Board of Education Employees Local 372. “We’ve been pushing for this for a long time.”

The mayor also announced the city’s 10-year capital spending plan would increase to $89.6 billion, which would include money for school construction and add 38,000 new classroom seats. Money from the capital spending plan would also be earmarked to repair 729 leaky roofs at New York City Housing Authority apartments.

In addition, there is money to upgrade a training center of the New York Police Dept. Other infrastructure projects included in the budget are the repaving of 1,300 miles of city streets.

There is concern at City Hall about federal funding from Washington, D.C., being slashed by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act and providing Medicaid funds through block grants could have a disastrous impact on the finances of the already cash-strapped NYC Health+Hospitals. Section 8, a federal program that provides subsidies to NYCHA and the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development could also be targeted for cuts.

“This is a budget against a backdrop of a lot of uncertainty,” said de Blasio at his City Hall news conference.

But the city’s plans could change quickly depending on Trump’s proposals. “It’s a budget that focuses on what we can do for ourselves while we wait to see the shape of things in Washington,” de Blasio said.

The City Council will hold public hearings during the spring to discuss items in the budget. The City Council must approve the mayor’s 2018 fiscal budget by June 30.