Mayor de Blasio Unveils New Initiatives

(Office of the Mayor)

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his seventh State of the City Address on Thursday, unveiling his vision to enhance the lives of the people and businesses in New York City.

“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. “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.”

One of Mayor de Blasio’s proposals is to pass a Landlord Vacancy Tax for commercial properties, in which landlords who keep vacant storefronts off the market to wait for high-paying tenants, such as banks and chain pharmacies, would be taxed. The Mayor’s administration plans to work along with politicians in Albany to pass a Landlord Vacancy Tax which would make it harder for landlords to keep storefronts vacant in our neighborhoods, which ultimately harms mom and pop shops in the communities.

De Blasio plans to further cut small business fines, having already cut fines over 40% since he took office. By the time he leave office, he hopes to have cut them by 50%, putting $26 million total back in business owners’ pockets.

In addition, in an effort to further help small businesses, he will convene a blue ribbon commission to deliver recommendations by the end of this year to find ways to support small businesses and protect them from egregious rent hikes.

Many New Yorkers work hard to afford rent, but don’t have enough cash upfront for a security deposit. The Mayor will offer up an initiative to allow 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. Starting with up to 60,000 City-financed homes, the city will also pursue local and state legislation to expand these options citywide to all of New York’s 2.2 million rental households.

In an effort to increase affordable housing units, the city will take the first steps to legalize basement apartments and accessory units by updating our zoning laws, and introducing legislation to cut through red tape and helping homeowners pay for it. These measures should add approximately 10,000 more affordable homes for New Yorkers within the next decade. Capital funds will also be set aside to finance low interest loans for homeowners to create safe and legal affordable apartments on their property.

A new $43 million program that offers home visits to all first-time parents in New York City will be implemented by 2024. This will 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.

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