FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.queenscourier.com FEBRUARY 28, 2013 • THE QUEENS COURIER 29 oped HALL OF SHAME Incidents of graffi ti have risen. The Courier invites you, our readers, to submit photos of vandalism — or addresses where you see graffi ti — for our “Hall of Shame.” Conversely, if a home or business has “cleaned up their act,” submit them for induction into our “Hall of Fame.” Send all high resolution JPG images (300 DPI) to email@example.com with a location and a contact number. Otherwise, contact us at 38-15 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, NY 11361. Help us take our borough back from the vandals! street talk Do you think Flushing Meadows-Corona Yes, I believe it should be a landmark. Steven Rodriguez 91st Avenue and 215th Place BY ROSA MICHAELS Yes, it should. Diana Cordero Yes. I’ve been here for 13 years and it’s a very established park. Courtney Lazarus Yes, I do. Everon Rampersad’sunair It’s important architecturally and nationally; it has all the artifacts from The World’s Fair…it’s a gathering place for the community. Fran Claro Park should be a landmark? Defi nitely, yes. George Bailey I think it should be a landmark, it’s the biggest park in queens. Darri-Anne Loftin I think it should be. It was around a long, long time. It’s very historical because the World’s Fair was held there. And I went to the 1965 World’s Fair when I was little. Toni Mancuso Cities can lead the way to a stronger middle class BY CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER CHRISTINE QUINN America’s middle class has faced decades of decline. A recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that only 51% of Americans are middle income today, down from 61% in 1971. Meanwhile, the net worth of middle class families has fallen 28% in the last 10 years. In urban America, that middle class squeeze is exacerbated by a growing affordability crisis. Here in New York, the City Council just released a report that details some troubling trends. Unemployment rates for our middle class are the highest they’ve ever been at this stage in an economic recovery. Jobs paying middle class wages are increasingly scarce, and costs are rising much faster than incomes. I believe there are concrete steps New York City can and must take to preserve and strengthen our middle class – steps that can lead the way for other cities facing similar challenges. First we must address the costs that make cities like New York so expensive for middle class families. That’s why I’ve proposed the single largest middle income housing construction program in two generations. Over the next 10 years my plan would create 40,000 new apartments for middle class families. We can do this by taking advantage of interest rates and federal mortgage rates that are at all-time lows, and by making better use of capital funds that already exist within the city’s budget. Through state legislation called the Permanent Affordability Act, we can create a new tax incentive for building owners that agree to keep apartments affordable after their initial protections expire. And we’ll be able to use a similar structure to convert existing market rate housing to affordable units, especially in neighborhoods that don’t have room for new construction. Now rent isn’t the only expense that’s putting a burden on working families. New York City has the highest child care costs in the country - over $19,000 per year on average. That’s why we need a Middle Class Child Care Tax Credit. This credit would be available to more than 90,000 additional families, anyone making up to $150,000 a year. It will build on existing state and federal credits - so a family with two children making $75,000 a year will receive a total annual benefi t of $2,040. The second part of this effort must focus on creating good jobs and making sure workers have the skills they need to enter the job market of the 21st century. This will require an economic development strategy that works community by community, block by block. At the same time I’ve proposed a thoroughly reinvented workforce development system that’s driven by real world demand and rewards lasting results. Our people are the biggest strength we have when it comes to job creation, with many companies saying that workforce quality was their #1 consideration when deciding where to locate new offi ces. If New Yorkers have the right skills, the jobs will follow. This is a moment of great diffi culty for our middle class, but also great possibility. We will not allow middle class families to get priced out of the neighborhoods they helped build. We will keep New York City what it has always been – a place where opportunity is given, not just to those who ca n afford to buy it, but to those willing to work for it. Elected Speaker in 2006, Christine Quinn has negotiated city budgets, reducing government spending, and preventing fi rehouse closings, teacher layoffs and cuts to key services.
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