NEW YORK — “Re-opening Brooklyn’s long-closed McCarren Park outdoor swimming pool – something we did last Thursday – fulfilled a promise to the people of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. It improves the quality of their lives, and invests in the future of their communities. That’s what Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses did when they cut the ribbon on that pool – and 10 other outdoor pools across the city that have all stayed in use – back in 1936. That’s also what we did at City Hall last week when, working with Speaker Christine Quinn and her colleagues on the City Council, we adopted a City budget for the 12-month period that begins today – a balanced, on-time budget that protects essential services without raising taxes.
“How could we do that without making New Yorkers stretch their own budgets further? There are three underlying reasons. First, we had the foresight to accumulate budget savings during the pre-recession years when the economy was booming. Second, built into the new budget are nearly $6 billion in savings produced by 11 separate rounds of belt-tightening measures we’ve asked City agencies to take since 2007. We started acting to guide the city through the rough economic seas of recent times long before most other cities and states did, and that has continued to pay off.
“So has the third factor I want to stress: Our longstanding work to diversify the city’s economy. Film and television production, tourism, commercial bioscience and the city’s rapidly expanding tech sector: They’re all continuing to grow and create new jobs – including for people in industries that have downsized. They’re big reasons why New York City has recovered from the national recession far more robustly than much of the rest of the nation has. And the tax revenues they’re producing have helped offset a recent fall-off in taxes collected from Wall Street.
“The immediate budget results: We’ll be able to put about 1,000 more teachers in public schools in September. We’ve preserved the strength of the NYPD and avoided closing any fire department companies. City funding for public libraries will continue at levels that mean they’ll be able to stay open, on average, more than five days each week. We’ve maintained City support for the cultural institutions that do so much to create jobs and propel economic growth in all five boroughs. And we’ve added about $100 million in City funds for child care and about $50 million more to fund recreational, cultural and academic activities for young people when school is out.
“In the months ahead, we’ll continue to keep a close watch on City finances and act prudently and responsibly to keep them in good order. At the same time, we’ll also move ahead on improvements to the parks, schools, public hospitals, and other facilities that our growing city needs. Great New Yorkers like Mayor La Guardia showed us that making good on such investments keeps our city strong. And we intend to follow his example.
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