NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A damning new report finds the needle hasn’t budged on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top campaign promise.
The entire de Blasio family joyfully did the “smackdown” dance on the night de Blasio became mayor, a symbol that the new guy taking the helm intended to keep his campaign promise to smack down income inequality and end the tale of two cities.
But nearly six years into his tenure and after increasing spending by more than $20 billion he is now faced with, “an inconvenient truth,” Alex Armlovich of the Manhattan Institute told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer on Wednesday.
The disparity between the rich and the poor has barely budged, according to Armlovich’s new report.
“A lot of New Yorkers would have liked to see more progress on housing, on transportation, and, especially, for the poorest New Yorkers in the city, NYCHA is in an unbelievable crisis,” Armlovich said.
But this is not a hit job by a conservative think tank. The Manhattan Institute used census data to find something called the “Gini coefficient,” a measurement of income distribution. The data showed the city has made minuscule progress, which Armlovich thinks is because the mayor was always distracted by using City Hall as a stepping stone to higher office.
“I think the mayor spent too much time trying to be the global mayor and not the mayor of the five boroughs,” Armlovich said. “Constantly having eye on high office led to ignoring the day-to-day lives of New Yorkers here.”
A spokesperson for the mayor insisted, “The Gini coefficient, although a popular index of inequality, changes extremely slowly and fails to capture the fact that the most vulnerable New Yorkers have chiefly benefited from the administration’s policies.”
When asked if the mayor has kept his campaign promise to end inequality and make things better for people, one New Yorker told Kramer, “No. The answer’s no.”
However, another New Yorker had the mayor’s back, saying, “As far as I’m concerned, I think he’s very good.”
Some said the mayor’s policies on the homeless have failed.
“I’m currently in a shelter and I’ve been there 15 months now and I still haven’t got housing,” said Moses Tejada, who lives in a shelter in Washington Heights.
“He didn’t make anything better. He made it just worse. He’s a big talker, not a doer,” added Vanessa Milleer of the Upper West Side.
The report faulted de Blasio for basically treading water despite a massive increase in spending, effectively putting the “blah” in de Blasio.