New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced legislation today guaranteeing two weeks of paid time off for all workers.
Universal healthcare has become a rallying cry for liberal Democrats and an article of faith for numerous new representatives in Congress. Officials claimed that New York's scheme would be the most comprehensive free healthcare system in America.
The de Blasio administration was recently hammered by a New York Times report about the city's habit of accepting meager settlements, which the mayor later said was preferable to battling landlords in Housing Court.
But de Blasio said about 600,000 New Yorkers, including many Caribbean immigrants, remain without insurance, "because they do not or can not enrol". The Mayor estimates $100 million in annual funding needs once the program is fully up and running in two years, but pledged no new or higher taxes to fund the initiative, saying that it will actually save taxpayer money by reducing the costs of treating patients who use the emergency room as their primary care provider. The mayor's office said that under the city's proposal, a New Yorker who makes the city's median salary of $50,850 per year and invests 5 percent annually while earning an average net return of 4 percent would save $146,274 after 30 years.
Those proposals, along with those for universal health care and guaranteed paid leave are still only that - proposals.
All services will be affordable on a sliding scale.
The city will be expanding NYC Ferry service from Coney Island to Lower Manhattan (2021) and will be adding a new stop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2019.
The City Council would need to consider and approve the mayor's plan before it can become law. The mayor made the announcement in the State of the City address that he delivered January 10.
The mayor's team said it would advance legislation in the City Council to expand the transfer program and permit officials to take control of "upwards of 40 of the most distressed multi-unit buildings" each year.
The Department of Consumer Affairs will be renamed the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to help freelancers and contract workers get paid quicker while enforcing paid-sick-leave laws and worker vacation requirements.
The city will also pressure the MTA to restart the SBS Bus program, helping fulfill the de Blasio administration October 2017 commitment to add 20 SBS routes citywide.