Saturday, February 18, 2012

"City Comptroller Liu Delivers First State of the City Address"

Dear Friends,

I’ve been privileged to serve as New York City Comptroller for two years, just past the halfway point in my term of office.

This week, I laid out where we are with the City’s economy and budgetary outlook, what my office has been doing with short and long term fiscal challenges, and some ideas and initiatives to make New Yorkers and the City as a whole more economically and fiscally secure.

Through it all, I continue to stress that...
It’s not just about numbers, it’s about people.
It’s not just about costs, it’s about need.
It’s not just about recovery, it’s about equity.

As we all work to move New York City forward, you can expect me and my office to vigorously discharge our duties. Expect us to be objective and diligent. And expect us to defy conventional thinking and past practice when we feel it necessary.

Take a look at some recent news reports below.

Sincerely,

John C. Liu

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NY1: "City Comptroller Liu Delivers First State of the City Address" - 2/16/2012
<http://www.ny1.com/content/156143/ny1-online--city-comptroller-liu-delivers-first-state-of-the-city-address>

On Thursday, February 16, City Comptroller John Liu delivered the first "State of the City" address for a comptroller at City College.
[41 minutes]

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NY1 INSIDE CITY HALL: "City Comptroller Discusses Vision For The City And Fundraising Scandal" - 2/16/2012
<http://www.ny1.com/content/156163/ny1-online--city-comptroller-discusses-vision-for-the-city-and-fundraising-scandal>

Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis asked City Comptroller John Liu about his state of the city address and the ongoing investigation into his campaign fundraising.

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WNYC RADIO: "Comptroller Liu on the State of the City" - 2/17/2012
<http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2012/feb/17/comptroller-liu-state-city/>

New York City Comptroller - and expected 2013 mayoral candidate - John Liu discusses his state of the city address.

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WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Liu Presses Ahead With Policy Plans" - 2/17/2011
<http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204880404577227721087411102.html>

EXCERPT - Mr. Liu, the first Asian-American to hold citywide elected office, said he's troubled by the city's widening economic divide, a theme he could place at the center of a campaign for mayor next year.

"Economic recovery is not our only objective; so is economic equality," said Mr. Liu, sparking applause during his address at City College of New York in Upper Manhattan. "There is no real prosperity when wealth is shared by only a tiny proportion of the city's residents."

Some of the key proposals in Mr. Liu's speech included:

*Creating a hotline to allow members of the public to report incidents of government waste;
*Requiring city agencies to track their technology projects according to budget, schedule and performance; *Accelerating construction projects during the next two years to take
advantage of low interest rates.

The comptroller also voiced strong support for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stinger's proposal to revise the city income tax code.

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NEW YORK TIMES: "Amid Run of Tough Press, Liu Aims to Cut Waste" - 2/16/2012
<http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/amid-run-of-tough-press-liu-aims-to-cut-waste/>

EXCERPT - Mr. Liu also encouraged the city to accelerate its investments on construction projects as a way to create jobs, saying that his staff would be prepared to help raise money in the capital markets. And he endorsed the idea of a progressive personal income tax system in the city, while vowing to push for a reduction in the city’s sales tax if extra income taxes were generated by a better-than-anticipated economic recovery.

As for the content of Mr. Liu’s 40-minute speech, the comptroller said that his office would establish a telephone hot line for city residents to report government waste and a companion Web site. He also said that he would call for systems to track both information technology projects and government subcontracting.

Mr. Liu was applauded when he mentioned issues like income inequality and his criticism of the cost overruns associated with the city’s automated payroll system, CityTime.

“We need to ensure that people don’t get left behind,” he said.

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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: "City Controller John Liu gives a shout-out in his State of the City speech to Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin" -
2/16/2012
<http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/city-controller-john-liu-a-shout-out-state-city-speech-knicks-sensation-jeremy-lin-article-1.1023864>

EXCERPT - It was the first time in recent memory that a controller gave a state of the city address.

Liu also gave an overview of the citys economy, predicting slow and steady growth, barring "catastrophes in Europe or Washington."

He also summarized a "four-point campaign to cut waste”:
- Establish a waste hotline where people can report fiscal waste.
- Implement checkbook 2.0 so the public can track city finances.
- Establish a system so the city can better track it's info stood and technology spending.
- Create a new system to track government subcontracting.

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THE CAPITAL: "After dancing dragons and choir songs, Liu defends public-employee pensions in his State of the City speech" - 2/16/2012
<http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/02/5280252/after-dancing-dragons-and-choir-songs-liu-defends-public-employee-p>

EXCERPT - The most far-reaching idea he unveiled in his speech was that the city should help manage private-sector pensions, which he proposed could be "pooled together to leverage the economy of scale and provide portable, efficient and low-cost pension benefits." Liu said the move to help the private-sector better manage its pensions would benefit the city.

"If we don't help people plan for their eventual retirement now, the increasing strain on the city's social services from seniors living in poverty will be overwhelming," he said.

"Poor market returns have been the main driver of escalating pension costs," Liu said. "It's just silly to blame our police officers, firefighters, teacher and other city employees for what happened during the recession," he said. "They didn't cause it and they're certainly not responsible for the economic problems we have today."

McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" blared from the speakers after the speech was over.

Lillian Roberts, executive director of DC37, which has 125,000 members in New York City, was in the front row for the speech and told me it was "excellent, innovative, outside of the box."

Bill Lynch, the operative and former deputy mayor who helped elect David Dinkins in 1989 and is currently working as a consultant to Liu, was also in the front row for the speech. "It's not going to reset the discussions [with reporters]," Lynch said. "I think it will reset the
conversation with rank-and-file voters."

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AMSTERDAM NEWS: "Liu's State of the City addresses broadband access" - 2/16/2012
<http://www.amsterdamnews.com/politics_noir/liu-s-state-of-the-city-addresses-broadband-access/article_e8b5bfb4-58cf-11e1-89d3-001871e3ce6c.html>

EXCERPT - New York City Comptroller John Liu's State of the City address Thursday will touch on an under-discussed but important topic: broadband access for low-income New Yorkers.

"The wealth divide is not the only profound gap in our society," said Liu in an excerpt from his address obtained by the AmNews. "It rests on top of another divide that needs to be addressed immediately in order for prosperity to be shared equitably; I'm talking about the digital divide that makes it difficult for kids without access to technology and the Internet to do their homework and to perform to the best of their ability in school.

"This digital divide also affects the unemployed or underemployed, who cannot look for work successfully without the ability to search and apply for jobs online," he said.
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