Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his seventh State of the City Address on Thursday, unveiling his Administration’s progressive vision to ensure New Yorkers from Harlem to Hollis can continue to call the city they love home. With two years left in his second term, the Mayor’s blueprint to save our city will provide small businesses the support they need to survive, take meaningful steps to improve affordability, keep children at the center of his agenda, continue to drive down crime and traffic fatalities, and protect future generations from the catastrophic threat of climate change.
“New York City is the greatest city in the world, but many New Yorkers have real fears that the city they love is slipping away,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From making Pre-K universal, to creating the safest big city in America, we have accomplished so much together, but we need to go much farther. We must make New York City easier to afford, protect the mom-and-pop businesses that make New York, New York, and hand this city back to the people who make it so great.”
Mayor de Blasio unveiled the following proposals as part of his 2020 agenda:
Saving Small Businesses
Small businesses are essential to the fabric of our city, and we are taking steps to provide the support they need to grow, thrive and survive. From cutting red tape and fines to providing resources for business owners to stay in their shops, we are committed to preventing the displacement of New York City’s mom-and-pop shops. We aim to reach 28,000 businesses in need and will:
- Invest Pension Funds in Local Businesses: We will work to commit $500 million of New York City pension funds to invest in our local businesses, with a focus on small businesses.
- Pass a Landlord Vacancy Tax: When landlords keep vacant storefronts off the market to wait for high-paying tenants like banks and chain pharmacies, mom-and-pop-shops – and the communities that know and love them – suffer. We are committing to working with colleagues in Albany to pass a Landlord Vacancy Tax to make it harder for landlords to keep storefronts vacant in our neighborhoods.
- Cut Small Business Fines in Half: We have cut fines over 40% since we took office, and we will have cut over 50% by the time we leave office, putting $26 million total back in business owners’ pockets.
- Expand Small Business Navigators: We will help businesses with applications for permits and licenses so they can open their doors faster, prepare for inspections and lower their costs.
- Provide Free Lawyers and Fair Loans: For low-income businesses, we will provide free legal services for lease negotiation and low-interest loans from trustworthy community lenders. We will also pursue local legislation to mandate lease transparency requirements for all small businesses.
- Create a Blue Ribbon Commercial Rent Control Commission: We will convene a blue-ribbon commission to find ways to support small businesses and protect them from egregious rent hikes. This commission will deliver its recommendations by the end of this year.
A New York New Yorkers Can Afford
From reforming property taxes to ending long-term street homelessness to investing in NYCHA, we are committed to improving the affordability and quality-of-life of all New Yorkers. With Your Home NYC, the next phase of Housing New York, we are strengthening our efforts to build and preserve affordable housing, protect renters and create neighborhood wealth. We will:
- Keep New Yorkers in their Homes: We have already kept 255,000 New Yorkers in their affordable homes, and in the next two years, we will protect 78,000 more New Yorkers.
- Build New Homes for the Lowest-Income New Yorkers: Your Home NYC will prioritize building new homes for our lowest-income New Yorkers. Half of all City financed newly-built homes will be for families making under $50,000 per year, and at least half of those will be for families making less than $30,000 per year. In total, this will mean 2,000 more units for low-income New Yorkers over the course of the plan.
- Rent Without a Security Deposit: Too many New Yorkers work hard to afford rent, but don’t have enough cash upfront for a security deposit. Starting with up to 60,000 City-financed homes, we will offer renters a choice to pay a security deposit or to sign up for renter security insurance that allows small monthly payments or a smaller single upfront payment in lieu of the full month deposit. We will also pursue local and state legislation to expand these alternative options citywide to all of New York’s 2.2 million rental households.
- Advocate for Universal Renter Protection: We are advocating for the State Legislature to pass new tenant protections for the 2.5 million New Yorkers who live in our nearly 900,000 unregulated homes. We are committed to protections that will help shield those renters from steep rent shocks and arbitrarily losing their leases.
- Expand Community Land Trusts to Build Neighborhood Wealth: We will support the use of Community Land Trusts and new neighborhood wealth-building tools to support community ownership and development that allows community residents to share in the wealth generation. The opportunities, offered for organizations to propose community ownership models, will include enough City owned land to gain over 3,000 units of community-owned or shared equity housing.
- Legalize Basement Apartments: We will take the first steps to legalize basement apartments and accessory units by updating our zoning laws, introducing legislation to cut through red tape and helping homeowners pay for it. We will set aside capital funds to finance low-interest loans to homeowners hoping to create safe and legal affordable apartments on their property. These measures will add approximately 10,000 more affordable homes for New Yorkers within the next decade.
Keeping Kids Safe
New York is the safest big city in America, and safe neighborhoods are the building blocks of our city. We are deploying 300 Youth Coordination Officers to every precinct, where they will help young people access positive community resources and will be resident precinct experts for all youth-related matters. In addition, we will:
- Expand, Reopen, and Build New Recreation and Community Centers: We will expand late nights and weekend hours at 36 Parks recreation centers and provide free membership to anyone up to age 24 by eliminating the $25 membership fee. We will also reopen six shuttered community centers to restore them to their neighborhoods and complete two Parks recreation centers already in the pipeline. We will build seven brand-new recreation centers in Soundview, Tremont, Coney Island, Bushwick, Astoria, Queens Village and Staten Island’s South Shore. These investments will increase youth membership by approximately 20,000 members and bring the total number of centers to 51.
- Make Streets Safer near Schools: We are installing 1,000 new lights, stop signs, and speed bumps around schools and in neighborhoods to keep our youngest New Yorkers safe.
- Create a new NYPD Vision Zero Unit: As the City continues to drive traffic fatalities to historical lows, this new unit will consist of over 100 personnel and expand enforcement against the most dangerous behaviors on our streets: speeding, red-light running, and failure to yield to pedestrians.
New York City’s Brightest
Every student deserves a great school. And over the past six years, there has been real progress. Test scores, graduation rates and college readiness are all up. Pre-K for All is shrinking the achievement gap, and Community Schools are improving student performance. Now we have to raise the bar even higher by helping kids start learning even earlier, tracking and improving schools in real-time, and bringing dynamic new teachers into the classroom. We will:
- Bring 3-K to Even More Families: Free Pre-K for All is a reality for all four-year olds in New York City, and 3-K for All is growing fast. Beginning this September, 3-K will cover half of New York City’s school districts, including four new districts in District 1, District 12, District 14 and District 29. 26,000 3-year-olds will have access to full-day, high-quality 3-K.
- Surpass the Nation in Graduation Rate: We are making a commitment to surpass the nation’s graduation rate in the next five years, reaching 86% by 2026. When we achieve this, it will be the first time in the City’s history that our graduation rate exceeds the national average.
- Deepen the Work of EduStat: With a focus on current key indicators such as attendance, credit accumulation, formative assessment, and suspension, the Department of Education will be able to analyze real-time data, identify trends, and deploy resources accordingly. The Chancellor’s Executive Leadership Team will meet at least once a month to review.
- Recruiting Diverse and Gifted Teachers: We are adopting a bold new goal of putting an additional 1,000 men of color on the path to becoming teachers by 2022, doubling our previous goal of 1,000 that was hit in 2018. By building upon existing successful pipeline programs for aspiring male teachers of color, we believe the percentage of new hires who identify as men of color will increase to 20% by 2022.
- Begin New Family Home Visits: We will begin a new $43 million program that offers home visits to all first-time parents in New York City by 2024. They’ll help both parents and babies stay healthy, help new families strengthen their bonds and make sure families know where to turn for childcare, a pediatrician and all the support they need in those critical early years.
Save Our Future
Climate change is real. And if we don’t act now, our kids will grow up in a world that’s less livable and more dangerous. We are launching a second wave of the Green New Deal that will green our energy, cut vehicle emissions and ban more wasteful plastics – all so the nation’s largest city can become carbon neutral. We will:
- Investment in Wind: To accelerate the growth of off-shore wind, with our New York State and Empire Wind partners, we will equip the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park as a new hub for staging, installing and operating turbines across the tri-state area. We’ll create 500 green jobs and support clean wind power that would reduce emissions equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.
- Double Solar Power: New York City will launch a new program to defray upfront costs of solar power, letting homeowners pay for them over years out of the savings on their energy bills. We will help install solar panels on 50,000 one-to-four family homes, doubling the amount of solar power produced in New York City and creating 5,000 green jobs.
- Bring Hydro to New York City: This year, we will secure an agreement to bring more zero-emission hydropower to New York City by 2025, which will help run City government operations on 100 percent renewable energy.
- End Unnecessary Single-use Plastic Bottles: Through an Executive Order, New York City government will end the purchase of unnecessary single-use plastic bottles and restrict the sale of single-use plastic bottles (21 fluid ounces or less) on City property by 2021.
- Make ALL City Vehicles Electric: The Mayor will issue an Executive Order to have all on-road vehicles in the fleet be plug-in electric by 2040. By 2025, 4,000 vehicles will be replaced or converted to electric, and by 2040, we will work to make the entire City fleet – every garbage truck, every ferry, every ambulance and every police cruiser – fully electric. The first electric school buses will hit the streets this year.
- End the use of Fossil Fuels, including Natural Gas: By 2040, we still stop using natural gas and other fossil fuels in large building systems in New York City, starting in government buildings. We will work with lawmakers to ensure that new permits for building systems are aligned with our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
- Stop New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure: We’re not just divesting billions from coal and oil companies – we will stop any new infrastructure, such as power plant expansions, pipelines, or terminals that expands the supply of fossil fuels in our city. We will issue an Executive Order codifying this policy.
Read more about Mayor Bill de Blasio here.