- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his first State of the City speech on Monday, a major address in which he outlined steps to fight income equality. Describing “an inequality gap that fundamentally threatens our future,” he proposed wage increases, tax hikes on the wealthy and help getting state-issued identification for city residents who came to the U.S. illegally.

The initiatives de Blasio talked about include:



- The de Blasio administration will seek permission from the state to set its own minimum wage in the city, though he didn’t specify an amount. The state minimum wage is $8 per hour and rises to $9 per hour by 2016. Advocates have called for a $10-per-hour wage.


- To pay for prekindergarten for all city children, de Blasio wants the state to allow the city to increase taxes on residents who make $500,000 or more. He said, “Raising taxes on the rich makes our commitment to our kids more than just words. It makes that commitment real. It makes that commitment fair.”


- One proposal would create New York City-issued ID cards that would be available to all residents this year, including those in the country illegally. Advocates for such IDs, which have been issued in other cities, say they would help people open bank accounts and enter buildings that require identification, such as schools.


- The mayor called for overhauling the city’s multiple job training programs, which he described as a maze that is “overlapping and often ineffective,” and investing in apprenticeship programs connected to such industries as information technology.


- In his speech, de Blasio pledged to preserve or construct nearly 200,000 affordable housing units. He said a plan to accomplish that goal will be released by May 1.

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