As Bill de Blasio prepares to take office in January, New Yorkers, broadly concerned about widening inequality, are coalescing around an agenda for the new mayor that includes investments in education, job creation, and housing to boost economic mobility and strengthen a diminishing middle class.
This is the story that emerges from our 2013 survey, The Unheard Third, which seeks to understand the views and hardships of low-income New Yorkers and a comparison sample of moderate and higher-income respondents.
Among respondents of all incomes, more than two-thirds support policies such as making pre-K programs available to all children, expanding career and technical education, investing in a job-creating public works program to modernize our aging infrastructure, and developing more affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. Strong majorities are willing to support many of these policies even if it means paying a little more in taxes. Moreover, many of the policies New Yorkers support—such as tying tax breaks and other incentives for businesses to requirements for local hiring, better wages, and new affordable housing—would require no additional public spending.
These findings were published in today's Metro New York (see page 13 in the digital edition) and are explored in greater depth in our new publication, For Richer or Poorer: What New Yorkers Want in the Next Mayor.
For more than ten years, the Community Service Society has been giving voice to the concerns and struggles of low-income New Yorkers through our annual Unheard Third survey. The 2013 election served as a platform for a robust discussion of these issues.