New York City business leaders across multiple industries have sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio asking for action to be taken on "public safety and other quality of life issues that jeopardize economic recovery."
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"Despite New York’s success in containing the coronavirus, unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk," the letter reads. "There is widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs."
The business leaders noted that the city needs to send a "strong, consistent message that our employees, customers, clients and visitors will be coming back to a safe and healthy work environment" and are urging de Blasio to take immediate action to "restore essential services as a necessary precursor for solving the city’s longer term, complex, economic challenges.”
The business leaders also warned the two-term mayor that "People will be slow to return unless their concerns about security and the livability of our communities are addressed quickly and with respect and fairness for our city’s diverse populations."
The effort was organized by the Partnership for New York City, a business group whose members employ over 1.5 million New Yorkers. The letter was signed by more than 160 executives from companies including Bank of America, Macy's, Citigroup, Lyft, and Jet Blue, among others.
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"We look forward to your response and to partnering with you and others who share a commitment to a vibrant recovery and a great future for our city," the business leaders concluded.
Bill Neidhardt, the mayor's press secretary, told FOX Business that the city is "grateful for the business community’s input, and we’ll continue partnering with them to rebuild a fairer, better city."
The Democratic mayor's administration, said Neidhardt, wants "to restore these services and save jobs, and the most direct way to do that is with long term borrowing and a federal stimulus,"
But with legislators in Congress at a standstill Neidhardt added, "We ask these leaders to join in this fight because the stakes couldn’t be higher.”
According to the New York Police Department, there were 242 citywide shooting incidents in the month of August, a 166% increased compared to the previous year and an 87% spike year to date through August 31. Meanwhile, murders increased by 34% and burglaries increased by 22% in August. Over Labor Day weekend alone, the NYPD said 160 gun arrests were made following 23 shooting incidents.
The New York City Council voted in July to slash $1 billion from the NYPD's budget to go towards programs that assist in youth and community development. The New York Post reported that the city's budget cuts have also reduced the number of weekly garbage pickups, causing an overflow on city streets and that homeless encampments across the city continue to grow.
In addition, a survey by the Partnership of New York found that fewer than 10% of the city's office workers had returned to their workspaces and offices as of last month and just a quarter of major employers expect to bring their people back by the end of the year.