De Blasio outlines sweeping progressive agenda in inaugural State of the City

de blasio state of the city
Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his inaugural State of the City address in Queens Monday.
Credit: Getty Images

Standing below a banner calling for “One New York Rising Together,” Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a sweeping progressive agenda in his inaugural State of the City address Monday.

“We demand a city that lifts the floor for those struggling day to day, that offers every New Yorker a fair shot. Because that is that we all signed up for,” de Blasio said at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.

In the speech, the mayor called for reforms to tackle systemic inequalities within “the tale of two cities” chronicled throughout his campaign.

De Blasio promised to develop a municipal ID card for undocumented immigrants and said his administration would reexamine Superstorm Sandy recovery.

The mayor also plans to sign an executive order expanding living wage measures in the five boroughs.

“We want to ensure that New Yorkers aren’t relegated to the ranks of the poor when putting in a full week’s work,” he said.

De Blasio acknowledged challenges ahead, particularly crafting a budget with over 150 unsettled labor contracts.

“We will navigate towards a future that is progressive and fiscally responsible,” he said.

Among other proposals in the address, de Blasio announced his administration would lobby for local control of the minimum wage, along with a tax on wealthy New Yorkers to fund universal prekindergarten, which became his signature campaign proposal.

Both measures face push back from state lawmakers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for the state budget to fund universal prekindergarten across New York. State Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos told reporters Monday that he would not allow a vote on de Blasio’s prekindergarten measure.

Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich, a member of the three-member Republican minority, noted that the city is “a creature of the state” and said he didn’t know if the tax was necessary to fund prekindergarten.

Ulrich said he also believed former mayor Michael Bloomberg did good things for the city.

“Certainly when de Blasio was sworn into office, he inherited a city that was far better off than the city Mike Bloomberg inherited 12 years ago,” Ulrich said.

Citywide democratic leaders praised the speech.

“To me, it’s a real shift,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, noting the mayor’s calls for teamwork between local and state officials and the communities they represent. “This is about a moral obligation that we have in the city of New York to help uplift everyone.”

Throughout the address, de Blasio frequently quoted Fiorello LaGuardia, invoking his favorite former mayor’s progressive legacy.

“LaGuardia called for ‘government with a soul,’” he said. “And that is what we resolve to do.”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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