Christine Quinn kicked off her 18-page State of the City speech this afternoon in the City Council chambers by doing something a Council speaker has never done before: cutting the Council budget.
“The Council’s first order of budgetary business will be to make real cuts to our own budget, a step never taken before in the history of the modern City Council,” Quinn said, explaining that it was needed because of the poor fiscal climate facing the city and state.
To stimulate the economy, Quinn is proposing a tax-free week to coincide with the arrival of checks from the federal government to local residents.
Also in the speech was Quinn’s announcement that she and mayor would launch year-round, citywide ferry service. No details on how much that will cost the city, or commuters.
“We’ve gotten a pretty good head start on our collective future,” Quinn said, referring to the mayor’s long-term sustainability plan which, she noted, including “congestion pricing.” That was her only reference to the plan, which she and the mayor support, but its passage through the Council isn’t guaranteed. (Some city lawmakers, like David Weprin, and Lew Fidler, have already voiced their opposition to the plan.)
Quinn also picked upon an initiative she proposed last year that never came to fruition: a renter’s tax credit. She said, “we’ll continue our push to have a renter’s tax credit,” which, like congestion pricing, is something state lawmakers have to approve.
Other initiatives Quinn proposed included merit pay for teachers, more funding for HIV testing, creating a citywide Mitchel Lama program, and signing up more welfare recipients for food stamps.
Which all sounds, for those of us keeping track, a lot like a potential post-Bloomberg mayoral platform.