Voting Guide: Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota on the issues

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Credit: Metro Archive

After a tumultuous campaign season and two hard-fought primaries, the road to City Hall is almost at an end.

Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio seems poised for a landslide victory against Republican Joe Lhota. But the votes haven’t been cast and counted yet.

Metro created this handy guide for still-undecided New York voters.


Democrat Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate

  • Would require developers to build affordable housing for low- and middle-income families when neighborhoods are re-zoned
  • Would “unlock” vacant properties and lots
  • Would establish a support program for families at risk of ending up on the street
  • Says his plan would create 50,000 new affordable housing units over the next decade

Republican Joe Lhota, former MTA chairman and deputy mayor

  • Backs a coalition proposal to build or preserve 150,000 affordable housing units over the next eight years by investing $8 billion of public funds into the housing sector
  • Would build public housing on sites of underutilized state-owned properties and little-used post offices
  • Would review the Department of Buildings to help expedite the permit process for housing with affordable units

The Economy

De Blasio

  • Would establish economic development hubs in each neighborhood
  • Would overhaul bidding process for government contracts to give local businesses a better chance
  • Would create a Unified Development Budget to ensure subsidies create jobs
  • To increase the city’s skilled workers, would use funds from subsidy reform to increase city funding to CUNY by 50 percent and expand Career and Technical Education high school programs
  • Would establish the position of Job Creation Coordinator
  • Supports requiring a prevailing wage for city contractors


  • Would reduce regulations and taxes on small businesses
  • Would diversify the economy and encourage emerging industries to come to the city with tax incentives
  • To increase number of skilled workers in the city, would create a tech campus in every borough and establish free community college programs


De Blasio

  • To fund universal prekindergarten and after-school programs for middle school students, he would try to pass in the State Legislature an increase in income taxes for city residents earning more than $500,000, from 3.86 to 4.41 percent
  • Would reform tax subsidy program


  • Would make tax structure more “business friendly”
  • Would lower the tax and regulatory burden for families and businesses
  • Would decrease property taxes first, followed by corporate taxes “so long as they create jobs”
  • Would allow the hotel tax to return to 5 percent
  • Would work to phase out the commercial rent tax
  • Would reform the Unincorporated Business Tax and the General Corporation Tax


De Blasio

  • Would tax city residents earning more than $500,000 to fund universal prekindergarten and after-school programs for middle school students
  • Places less emphasis on charter schools and would charge them rent to use public school building space
  • Would eliminate letter grades for schools and provide progress reports to parents and educators
  • Would increase parent participation and decision-making in the Department of Education
  • Pledges to reduce class size
  • Would not close struggling schools


  • Supports choice and would double the number of charter schools
  • Would use a curriculum that prepares students for college and careers
  • Would give all children access to universal prekindergarten without raising taxes
  • Pledges to hold town halls with parents
  • Would reconstitute failing schools in the same building
  • Would create merit-based rewards and bonuses for teachers
  • Would incentivize teachers to take on tougher school assignments


De Blasio

  • Pledges to pass legislation banning racial profiling
  • Would reform, not eliminate, stop-and-frisk
  • Supports creation of independent inspector general to monitor NYPD and report to mayor
  • Would drop the appeal of a court ruling that would require stop-and-frisk reforms


  • Would continue constitutional stop-and-frisks but boost officer training and increase transparency
  • Supports universal background checks on owning firearms
  • Would continue the appeal of a court ruling that would require stop-and-frisk reforms
  • Would seek to overturn the City Council’s Community Safety Act


De Blasio

  • Pledges to increase city bicycling 6 percent by 2020
  • Supports the Vision Zero approach to reducing serious traffic injuries and fatalities
  • Would invest in transportation in the outer boroughs, but is against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s outer-borough taxi plan


  • Would cautiously increase the number of bike lanes
  • Proposes a subway extension to Staten Island
  • Would try to take control of the MTA’s bridges and tunnels to reduce consumer costs
  • Would begin a feasibility study to increase the subway system
  • Promises to expand Select Bus Service
  • Would make the Rockaway Ferry — established after Sandy — permanent
  • Pledges to ensure competition for the Second Avenue subway project

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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