Bloomberg says financial challenges facing New York City still grave

13:41, January 21, 2010      

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that the financial challenges facing the city are still grave.

"The financial challenges facing the five boroughs (of the city) are grave, especially given the budget cuts announced by Governor David Paterson yesterday," said Bloomberg in his ninth State of the City address,. "That's their job. And we've got to help them do it, and hold them to it."

On Tuesday, Paterson released a 134-billion-dollar state spending plan that included at least 750 million dollars in budget cuts to the city.

New York City officials said the cuts could exceed 1 billion dollars.

"We understand the challenges our state leaders face, but it's critical that the Democrats and Republicans, in both the Senate and the Assembly, protect our city," said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg unveiled steps to help New Yorkers climb out of debt, keep their homes and find new jobs.

The City Hall will give loans to debt-ridden residents who promise to keep their finances in tip-top shape and allow them to open bank accounts with no minimum fee, he said.

His team will create a 10-million-dollar mortgage assistance fund to help 1,000 families avert foreclosures and a 750-million-dollar rescue fund for owners of distressed apartment building so their residents won't have to live in squalor.

Bloomberg promised to cut the city's leased office space by 10 percent over four years to save 40 million dollars.

The mayor also pledged to streamline the permitting process for new small businesses.

He also announced job training and placement programs to help those hit hardest by the recession.

Source: Xinhua
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