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Quinn Cites "Affordability Crisis" In State Of The City Address

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In what sounded much like a campaign speech, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered her annual State of the City Address Monday.

The mayoral hopeful placed a heavy emphasis on economic inequality and what she says is a "affordability crisis" in her final State of the City as council speaker.

Quinn also unveiled a new study about the city's shrinking middle class, showing that the average middle class income has declined steadily since 2001, while costs of living have surged.


"We need to make sure that the people who want to stay in our great city can afford to stay here," said Quinn. "We have no greater challenge or obligation to the families we represent than to tackle this problem head on and deliver results. The future of our city depends on it. It comes as no surprise to any New Yorker that affordable housing is at the heart of this crisis."

The report by Quinn and the City Council's finance division show housing costs in Manhattan and Brooklyn are the most expensive in the country.

During her speech Monday, Quinn also laid out a proposal she says will make housing more affordable.

The plan includes the construction of 40,000 new middle-income apartments over the next 10 years, and some in the audience approved of the idea.

"Interest rates today are at all-time lows. They are at historically low levels and so for borrowing it's a great time," said Rafael Cestero of the Community Preservation Corporation.

Some skeptics said the city cannot afford this type of affordable housing.

"If you look at the math across the board, we can't go forward with a plan like this without some form of tax increases," Queens Councilman Dan Halloran said.

The speaker also wants Albany to approve a property tax cap for building owners who keep apartments affordable and a child care tax credit for the middle class. Those making under $150,000 a year could qualify.

"I think that will resonate in Albany," Manhattan Assemblyman Guillermo Linares said.

Some of Quinn's 2013 rivals quickly pounced on her proposals, like Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who said Quinn, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have blocked programs for working families.


Web Extra: Quinn Delivers State Of The City (Full Speech)


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