Bloomy boosts city during address – QNS.com

Bloomy boosts city during address

Inside the new Flushing Meadows-Corona Park complex that boasts an Olympic-size swimming pool and ice rink, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered one of his most anticipated State of the City addresses that had people across the nation watching and listening.
With speculation surrounding a possible presidential run, Bloomberg delivered a speech complete with accomplishments from the past year and a number of goals and projects for the city in 2008. He also talked about national issues including immigration and his crusade against illegal guns - continuing to fuel the presidential buzz.
During his address on Thursday, January 17, Bloomberg talked about modernizing and improving emergency communications, plans to open the city’s second Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens to curtail domestic violence, increase the number of healthy foods available in all city agencies, and put an end to social promotion for eighth graders.
However, he also painted a realistic picture for this year’s city economy, saying that forecasts predict a difficult year, and that the city has already started to cut spending and freeze hiring.
“The year ahead is not going to be easy - but as I stand here, I’m more optimistic about our future than ever,” Bloomberg said.
Although the economic forecasts for the city were bleak, Bloomberg said the administration remains committed to extending the $400 property tax rebate to homeowners, and he hopes to continue the seven percent across-the-board property tax cut the city offered last year.
“However, adopting it will depend on a variety of factors unknown today - from the health of our economy to the continued help we get from our partners in state government to the outlook for future years after our administration has come to an end,” Bloomberg said.
City Councilmember David Weprin, who chairs the council’s finance committee, said he was excited to hear Bloomberg talk about extending the rebates.
“Psychologically it is very good - it a good message to the middle class and homeowners,” Weprin said. “It’s a message that it’s important to keep New York City middle-class stable and makes the city an attractive place to live and work.”
However, speaking on Tuesday, January 22, Weprin cited the dramatic 400-point drop in the stock market during that morning’s opening session as well as cuts to city funding from the state detailed in Governor Eliot Spitzer’s preliminary budget also released that morning.
“If I had to guess, the $400 rebate is in better shape than the seven percent property tax,” Weprin said, adding that the rebate translates into roughly $250 million, whereas the seven percent cut equates to roughly $750 million. “We’ll wait and see how the numbers shake out over the next couple of months.”
In addition, Bloomberg touted major economic development projects taking place throughout the five boroughs including one big one in Queens.
“We’ll also rezone Willets Point, a stone’s throw from here, the first step in what will be one of the most significant environmental reclamation projects of our time,” Bloomberg said.
The city hopes to transform a 60-acre site in Willets Point and implement a development complete with more than 1 million square feet of retail shops and restaurants, 500,000 square feet of office space, 5,500 units of housing, a school, hotel and convention center. The city also expects the project to yield 20,000 construction jobs, 6,100 permanent jobs and more than $1.5 billion in revenue during the next 30 years.
“It was an encouraging speech that highlighted the mayor’s accomplishments to date and conveyed his continued commitment to build on his record,” Comptroller William Thompson said in a statement following Bloomberg’s address. “The mayor has taken a responsible and realistic approach to addressing the city’s future amid an uncertain economy.”

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