Good morning. This Monday I'll be making another trip to Albany to urge both houses of the State Legislature to act responsibly and extend the rent stabilization laws for the people of the City of New York.
By June 15th, legislators will need to come to an agreement about the rent stabilization debate that does not engage in a form of vacancy decontrol. We believe that would be a very big mistake for the people of the city.
Once again, we urge the legislators in Albany to take into consideration the views of the people of the city.
After all, those of us who live here have a better understanding and appreciation of what the situation is about in New York City. The rent control and rent stabilization laws are vital to the lives of over two million tenants in the city, many of whom are on fixed incomes or are elderly.
New York City is the economic engine of this state and we believe that our view should be given great consideration rather than pushed aside. The City generates more than 45 percent of the state's revenues; it represents 41 percent of the state's population, and has contributed greatly to the state's improving fiscal climate.
Therefore, we believe that Senator Bruno and other legislators should defer more to the consensus of the people of the City of New York.
It's interesting to note that when you take a look at the votes that would do away with rent stabilization and impose a wholesale form of vacancy decontrol on the people of this City, these votes would almost entirely come from people living outside of the City of New York.
Virtually all representatives of the city, both Democratic and Republican, support extending rent stabilization. In a sensible relationship between a state and a local government as large as New York City's, the state would be expected to give substantial consideration to the overwhelming view of the people who represent and live in the City of New York.
Let me reiterate one point that sometimes has been confusing. Rent control in New York City is already extended. Rent control protection involves about 100,000 apartments in the city. When the state changed the rent control and rent stabilization laws in the early 1970s, the state took over rent stabilization but it did not as clearly take over rent control.
On March 31st of this year, the City Council passed a bill that acknowledges the vacancy rate being 4.01 percent, a full one percent less than the emergency threshold of 5 percent. As a result of the bill that the Council passed and that I signed into law, the rent control protections continue for the people in those 100,000 rent controlled apartments.
If the City had the same authority to continue rent stabilization as we do rent control, and it hadn't been taken away from us by the state, you would be certain that rent stabilization would also be continued.
The bill we presented to Albany expresses the will of the overwhelming majority of people in the City of New York that rent stabilization should be continued and that there should not be vacancy decontrol, and we hope that that is given due consideration and respect by the State of New York.
In closing, I'd like to make two other points. I'd like to take a moment to congratulate Rebecca Sealfon, who captured first place at the 70th Annual National Spelling Bee. The first winner of the national title from New York City, Rebecca displays the drive and enthusiasm that has come to define most New Yorkers.
I'd also like to congratulate the police department, the people of the City of New York, all of the neighborhood and community groups for another truly remarkable achievement. Later on today, the F.B.I. will be releasing the year-end crime statistics for 1996, and I'd like to give you a brief preview.
Over the past three years, according to the F.B.I., the crime decline in New York City is the largest of any city in the United States of America. And among cities with populations of one million or more, New York City is now the safest city in America. That includes cities like Phoenix and Philadelphia and Los Angeles. New York is even safer than San Diego, California. Freedom from fear is growing in all of our neighborhoods and with it, the ability of New Yorkers to enjoy all the freedoms and opportunities of America's greatest city.
From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.