Even as many New Yorkers still struggle to find work, our city is emerging from the national recession faster and stronger than others. We've achieved this by spurring new jobs in growing industries and by managing our budget to protect the vital services that are so crucial to our economy and our quality of life.
In my State of the City speech, I laid out our strategy for keeping our progress going. The pressures on next year's budget are greater than ever, and there's no windfall coming from Albany or Washington to save us. But make no mistake: we will not raise taxes to balance the budget. That would merely undermine our recovery by driving jobs out of the city.
Instead, we'll continue to fuel the City's engine of innovation by investing in the future - because, as we learned in the 1970s, when you stop investing in the future, the future hits the road. That's why we'll take the next steps in creating new, dynamic neighborhoods in Willets Point and the Staten Island Homeport. To continue attracting the next generation of entrepreneurs, we'll hatch more business incubators in fields like new media and fashion. The biggest step we can take to encourage innovation is fixing our broken immigration system - and we'll push Washington to pass reform this year.
Over the next 12 months, we will infuse the spirit of innovation into government itself by making every agency smarter, more efficient and more customer-oriented. For instance, using our newly installed wireless water meters, we'll notify homeowners when we detect a leak - so they can save money on their water bills. To help restaurants and businesses open their doors faster, we'll cut the red tape and streamline the permitting and licensing process.
We'll also create a new category of livery cars that can make on-street pickups outside of Manhattan, just like yellow cabs. Everybody in every borough ought to be able to hail a legal cab on the street.
Our top legislative priority this year will be working with Albany to reduce unfunded mandates - especially our out-of-control pension costs. The average New York City tax filer will be paying $2,400 more to cover pension costs than they did back in 2001. This can't continue - not if we are going to continue improving our schools, providing the best public health services, and keeping our city safe.
In many ways, public safety is the foundation of a strong, growing economy - and this year we will work to make the nation's safest big city even safer. As part of this effort, we will continue to crack down on truancy and partner with Governor Cuomo to overhaul our juvenile detention system.
The challenges before our city are big. But because of our fiscal discipline and our job creation efforts, we've put ourselves in a position to face them head on. New Yorkers have shown time and again that we are strong enough, united enough, and determined enough to confront anything that comes our way. And I know we'll do it again.