New York (CNN) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – in his first "State of the City" address – vowed Monday to ask New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the authority to raise the minimum wage in all five boroughs and raise taxes on the wealthy.
New York City's 109th mayor also said he would expand affordable housing to thousands of lower income families, expand school programs and make municipal ID cards available to thousands of undocumented immigrants.
De Blasio made it clear throughout last year's mayoral campaign and in his six weeks in office that he wants more income equality for every New Yorker. In order to do this, he plans on asking Albany next week "to give New York City the power to raise the minimum wage in all five boroughs. In the process, we will send a powerful signal to the people of New York – that we honor work…and that we are committed to making work pay."
New York's first Democratic mayor in two decades reminded everyone that even though Wall Street has rebounded and hovers near historic highs 46% of New York City residents still "live at or near the poverty line. Our middle class isn't just squeezed; it's at risk of disappearing altogether. That disparity…that inequality crisis…is the greatest risk to our New York promise."
De Blasio said he would unveil a plan on May 1st to "preserve or construct nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing – enough to house between 400,000 and 500,000 New Yorkers."
The plan will call on developers to build homes for not only the wealthy, but for the middle income families trying to make a living in the most expensive city in America.
One of the ways de Blasio hopes to help lower income families get access to better paying jobs is by making better schooling available to New York City's youths. One of these programs would be making Pre-K programs universally available.
His plan has been met with controversy by many because it's unclear where the money would come from to fund it. The Mayor made his plan clearer Monday by saying he would find the funding by asking Cuomo to give him permission to raise taxes on "those who make more than a half-million dollars a year to pay a little more in taxes. For those making between $500,000 and a million dollars a year, that means an average of about 970 bucks."
Cuomo previously announced it was not necessary to raise taxes to fund the Mayor's Pre-K program and said he would find the money in the State Budget.
But de Blasio said he's only asking Cuomo to allow him to raise the taxes of New York City's wealthiest residents who make $500,000 or more. He also said "If there are extra resources in the state budget, we must remember that the State Court of Appeals ruled – in the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision several years ago - that the children of this city deserve billions more in educational resources, and now is the time to provide it."
De Blasio also unveiled his plan to identify the nearly half-million undocumented New Yorkers by "issuing municipal ID cards available to all New Yorkers this year - so that no daughter or son of our city goes without bank accounts, leases, library cards…simply because they lack identification."
De Blasio says the ID cards will make it possible for immigrants to access essential needs, like creating a bank account or qualifying for an apartment lease.