NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City will help laid-off Wall Streeters switch industries by training them for new jobs and will work with foundations to set up boot camps for entrepreneurs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.
Bloomberg, in his eighth State of the City address, pinned the city’s future on hanging onto the bankers and brokers whom critics fault for driving Wall Street to the brink.
Along with $30 million of federal incentives for new financial firms, keeping these individuals will ensure the city stays a financial capital and shares in Wall Street’s eventual revival.
Speaking in Brooklyn, the mayor, an independent seeking a third term, also proposed ways to help the neediest New Yorkers while making the city safer, greener and healthier.
The anti-smoking, trans-fat fighter now wants to cut by 20 percent both the number of AIDs deaths and the number of young people who succumb to preventable heart disease.
BMW will give the city 10 free electric cars and the owners of existing buildings will be required to overhaul them with green technology, a national first, Bloomberg said.
Airport travelers will be allowed to share taxis, job programs will focus on training for green industries, and entrepreneurs will get help finding office space.
More police will be trained to guard against Mumbai-like attacks. The three precincts with the worst murder rates will be equipped with street-level cameras by a public-private partnership. Global positioning satellite technology will help protect public housing from visits by gang members the courts have barred.
New York’s revenues have fallen with Wall Street’s profits, and Bloomberg, facing billion-dollar deficits over the next few years, repeatedly has cut spending and told city agencies, including police and fire departments, to do more with less. He also urged New Yorkers to volunteer for public service.
The city will ask the federal government to let it try expanding the earned income tax credit.
The mayor will need the state to approve several proposals, such as creating 400,000 jobs over six years by abolishing or reducing unincorporated business taxes, saving the average owner $3,400 a year, and turning into a felony any string of six or more quality-of-life offenses committed in one year.
“Safe streets, strong neighborhoods, quality schools — they’re all critical to our recovery,” he said. Later, he added: “We’ll do right by the homeless — and save taxpayers money — by helping them leave shelters more quickly.”
It now takes one year to find these adults and children new homes, and the shelter population recently rose over 35,000.
Bloomberg, who inherited a billion-dollar deficit from former Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, mirrored his predecessor’s stand on minor offenses. “We won’t cede an inch to squeegee men, turnstile jumpers, and graffiti vandals who breed a sense of disorder and lawlessness,” the mayor said.
Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Gary Hill