In just two short weeks, New York City will elect a new Mayor. The new Mayor will have to face a number of complex problems related to increasing levels of poverty and expanding gaps in economic inequality in the nation’s biggest city. For the next two weeks, we will look the Democrat and Rupublican candidates on issues related to the city’s growing issues of poverty and economic inequality. This week we start with Democratic mayoral nominee and current Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Since the beginning of the mayoral race, de Blasio has portrayed New York City as a modern day “tale of two cities”. Upon announcing his run for Mayor in front of his Brooklyn home in January, de Blasio spoke of a city divided by economics. de Blasio also stated that the city has continued to meet the needs of economic elites while overlooking those of the city’s less fortunate. Throughout his career, de Blasio has continually focused on issues related to economic inequality. de Blasio’s platform for Mayor is built on a foundation of proposals that would increase taxes on the wealthy, raise low wages, and expand affordable housing and job opportunities for underskilled, economically disadvantaged New Yorkers. One of his most controversial proposals would increase taxes on the wealthy to fund expanded early childhood education and after school programs for children across the city. de Blasio’s policy prescriptions operate under the principle that the wealthy are obliged to aid in the creation of an economically equalized city. Throughout his campaign, de Blasio has been critical of the Bloomberg administration and has argued that Bloomberg has focused on needs of the wealthy elite while ignoring the poor. One of de Blasio’s goals is to economically equalize New York City using the financial support of a transformed tax system. Bloomberg has criticized de Blasio’s campaign, and called his penchant for highlighting economic inequalities as “class warfare.” de Blasio cites his proposals for tax reform as an important step in aiding economically disadvantaged New Yorkers. However, the feasiblity of this approach, which depends on the approval of legislators in Albany has been questioned. Next week, just before the November 5th election, we will shine the McSilver spotlight on Republican candidate Joe Lhota.
Direct Service Implications
A new Mayor can create a number of challenges and opportunities for direct service providers across New York City and their clients. If elected and successful at operationalizing his proposals, Bill de Blasio could create a number of economic opportunities for vulnerable populations. A de Blasio administration could revitalize neglected support systems for New York City’s underprivileged. Throughout his campaign, de Blasio has put forth a vision of a more equalized city that would create income, housing, and food security for low-income residents. de Blasio’s visions would require increased outreach to aid individuals in accessing entitlements that could help lift them out of poverty. Upon the election of either Mayoral candidate, direct service providers must prepare themselves to navigate a city that has always provided both opportunities and obstacles for its poorest residents. Providers must continue to watch for changes in government, and continue to keep themselves informed on how political shifts in power can impact their work and the lives of their clients.
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How does the NYC Mayoral Election impact the lives of those living in poverty? was originally posted by the McSilver Institute of Poverty Policy and Research with permission granted by all parties.