In strong testimony before joint fiscal committees of the state legislature today, Mayor de Blasio called on Albany to: end vacancy deregulation, which undermines the preservation of affordable housing in the city; commit $300 million in capital funds to the New York City Housing Authority for health and safety needs; provide legal services to tenants; and expand rental assistance to help the city reduce and prevent homelessness. He also reiterated his call for a higher city minimum wage, $13 per hour in 2016, indexed to inflation going forward.
The hope here is that state lawmakers act on the mayor’s request. We know there is very little by way of help expected from Washington. But city and state leaders can step up and direct resources where they are needed the most. At a time when most everyone is talking about addressing income inequality, from the governor to the president, the mayor is challenging lawmakers to make the kinds of choices that can reduce inequality and increase opportunity for New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet. We commend him for that.