Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
As Mayor Bill de Blasio starts his second month in office, he said he's committed to strengthening New York's middle class through new policies and government investment that will help set a new standard for cities across the country.
“We have to reconstruct the kind of middle class we used to have,” de Blasio said Monday in his first appearance on The Brian Lehrer Show since taking office. “It will require very substantial government investments and actions. It won’t happen by letting the free market go unfettered. It won’t happen with trickle-down economics. It will only happen with a very systematic strategy.”
The mayor is set to deliver his State of the City address next Monday, in which he said he will go into greater detail on his job creation plan.
So far, de Blasio has already partnered with the City Council to introduce expanded paid sick leave legislation that would require businesses with five or more employees to offer their workers five paid sick days a year. De Blasio also supports a living wage law that would require companies who do business with the city to pay higher wages to their employees.
“If we subsidize companies locally, we have every right to demand a living wage for the people they pay,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio said he wasn’t worried about whether the city could lose jobs to nearby municipalities with lower wage and benefit standards.
“People want to be here, let’s face it, from everywhere in the world,” said de Blasio. He added that corrective action is needed to make sure the city is strong and stable into the future.
“We have to set a new standard of what’s expected and then challenge other jurisdictions to meet it,” said de Blasio.