Liu delivers State of the City address

Calls for higher minimum wage of $11.50 Proposes small biz economic stimulus plan, elimination of corporate welfare; Outlines innovative educational policies

NEW YORK, NY (TIP): New York City Comptroller John C. Liu reported December 20 on the health of New York City’s economy and put forth an ambitious plan to ensure that New York City’s future benefits every New Yorker, not just the well-connected few. During his State of the City Address, Comptroller Liu called for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $11.50 per hour over the next five years in order to help the “working poor” climb out of poverty. Liu also outlined initiatives to sustain and rebuild the City’s middle class, including lowering taxes and fines on 90 percent of the City’s small businesses. In order to do so, Liu called for an end to the corporate welfare being doled out annually by the City’s Economic Development Corporation and the elimination of outdated corporate tax loopholes, which cost the City more than $500 million each year.

In addition to putting forward innovative solutions to impending economic problems, Liu outlined educational policies that would better prepare our City’s youth for the challenges ahead, such as:
1.Free CUNY tuition to the top 10 percent of every NYC public high-school,
2.Using City schools as community centers during nonschool hours to offer services like health clinics and financial literacy classes, o Expanding of the Nurse Family Partnership, a program that increases children’s cognitive skills, producing higher reading and math scores,
3.Expanding the “Computers for Youth” program to every middle school at which at least 75 percent of the students receive a free lunch, in order to provide computers to all low income families,
4. Creating “sister college” relationships that pair every high school with one of the City’s many colleges and universities, so that college and graduate students can mentor our high-school students.

Liu also highlighted a number of his office’s successes over the past year; such as the role his office played in the City’s recoupment of $466 million in cost overruns from CityTime, the identification of fraudulent billing on the City’s 911 call center upgrade, emergency spending approvals for the response and recovery related to Superstorm Sandy, and the more than $1 billion saved as part of City bond refinancings. Liu noted that the Mayor and City Council adopted his Capital Acceleration plan to rebuild City infrastructure and spur job growth, an idea he proposed in his last State of the City Address.

Comptroller Liu also announced that, in the coming weeks, his office will launch Checkbook 2.0, an upgrade to the current online transparency tool, Checkbook NYC, making New York City the most financially transparent government in the United States.

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