After being plagued all year by a campaign finance scandal, City Comptroller John Liu delivered a major policy speech Thursday morning, an attempt to outline his platform for his potential run for City Hall. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
The pageantry was plentiful, but the message was clear.
"As difficult as things have been, though, we've been inspired that we can all be heroes, even if it's just for one day," said City Comptroller John Liu.
On Thursday, Liu gave his second State of the City address this year. His first was in February, one day after a campaign fundraiser was indicted for wire fraud. This time around, the scandal no longer dogging the comptroller on a daily basis, Liu stayed on message and in the spotlight.
"It isn't just about economic recovery," he said. "It is about shared prosperity and economic equality."
It was a speech that hit closer to the campaign trail than the comptroller's office. He proposes raising the minimum wage in the five boroughs to $11.50, a more than $4 increase. He wants to give free tuition at City University for the top percentage of city high school students.
He says the city should cut taxes for small businesses. How to pay for it? Eliminate tax breaks for large corporations.
They're positions that could be a potential campaign platform for City Hall.
"He feels confident that he is going to be able to position himself as a candidate," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
"He is not the kind of person who says something and doesn't do anything about it," said Lillian Roberts of District Council 37.
Many of the proposals may be little more than just rhetoric, as most of them would need approval from the state legislature in Albany. But the comptroller says that doesn't mean they can't shape the debate, or perhaps his 2013 run.
"Much of this does require state legislation," he said. "That doesn't mean that we don't study the issues and propose the solutions that I think are necessary for New York City's long-term economic future."
"He has the ability to take his ideas to Albany and to convince us we should pass them," said State Senator Kevin Parker.
Even if they don't get Albany's attention, his ideas might attract some voters.