| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 13 New York City is threatened by
an "affordability crisis" because rising housing prices have
significantly outpaced wage growth, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on
De Blasio used his state of the city address to speak
broadly about New Yorkers' struggles to pay rent and make ends
meet and discussed recent proposals, rather than lay out many
De Blasio, a Democrat who took office in January 2014, is up
for reelection in November.
Held at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, home to
numerous American musical legends including Billie Holiday, the
program featured at least 45 minutes of introductory remarks
that were a mostly a love story to the city's diversity.
"So many people in this city are afraid they cannot stay in
the city that they love," because of high costs, de Blasio said.
De Blasio cited a long list of what he considers some of his
biggest accomplishments, including the implementation of
neighborhood policing and the highest ever four-year high-school
graduation rate of 72.6 percent in 2016.
He said residents would hear in coming weeks more details of
forthcoming proposals about homelessness, opioid addiction and
the creation of more higher paying jobs, which he called the
He said the city would strive to create 100,000 more
permanent good jobs that pay at least $50,000 a year.
Last week, de Blasio released information about other
proposals that he touched on in his speech, including ways to
help seniors and low-income people afford housing by adding new
units and providing more rental assistance.
He said previously that he would seek to add 10,000
apartments for households earning less than $40,000 a year, half
of which would be reserved for seniors, while another 500 would
be for veterans.
De Blasio referenced another element of the plan announced
last week to help more than 25,000 older residents with rent of
up to $1,300 a month through the city's "mansion tax," which he
has proposed before.
"You will hear people say it cannot be done," de Blasio said
of the tax. "They will say you cannot get it through Albany,"
using the state capital to refer to the state government, whose
approval would be required for the tax.
The mansion tax would bring in $336 million on the sale of
homes over $2 million, he said.
"We're not going to give tax breaks to people doing well,"
de Blasio said. "We're going to ask them to do more."
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Leslie Adler)