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Cuomo: Carrots and Sticks for Schools
January 17th, 2012

Two weeks after he signaled his intention to focus on education, Gov. Andrew Cuomo today filled in some of the details and inserted himself squarely in the dispute over teacher evaluation.

In his budget address Cuomo confirmed that, as announced previously, the state would up its aid to districts by 4.1 percent or $805 million next year for a total of about $20 billion.

Unlike last budget year — when the governor cut spending across the board regardless of a district’s needs — the increase would be weighted toward higher needs areas. These parts of the state will receive 76 percent of the hike and 69 percent of all school aid, according to Cuomo’s Budget Briefing Book.This means New York City stands to gets almost $6.4 billion next year, an increase of 2.6 percent over the approximately $6.2 billion it is getting this year.

Districts also would be able to compete for some $200 million in special state grants, under a New York version of the federal Race to the Top program.

The Road to the Money

But Cuomo put a big condition on all the additional money. To get it, districts will have to come up with a new evaluation system for teachers.

Details after the jump.
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By on January 17, 2012, 5:23 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Education,Eye on Albany,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Bloomberg and Quinn on Cuomo's Budget
January 17th, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn have major praise for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2012-2013 fiscal year budget. This is the strongest state budget that New York City has seen in a long time. With this new budget, Governor Cuomo is establishing a stronger financial basis for a more vibrant and healthy New York,” Quinn said in a statement.

Governor Cuomo put forward a budget that demonstrates a bold commitment to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing our great state. He has my strong support,” said Bloomberg in a statement.

Bloomberg hasn’t had the smoothest relationship with Cuomo so far but the Mayor is especially pleased with Cuomo’s plans for mandate relief and pension reform.

The Governors push for mandate relief and pension reform could save the City billions in the long term,” Bloomberg’s statement continues. “New York City spends more than $8 billion annually more than 12 percent of our budget on pension costs, more than we spend on the operating budgets for the Police, Fire and Sanitation Departments combined. Without a new pension tier, which will not diminish the retirement benefits of a single current employee, taxpayers will continue to spend more and more on pension costs, leaving less and less for public education, public safety, job creation, affordable housing and other critical services.

Here are Quinn’s and Bloomberg’s full statements: Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 17, 2012, 3:40 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Economy,Education,Eye on Albany,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

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Ruben Diaz Jr. On Living Wage Deal
January 13th, 2012

Council Speaker Christine Quinn has decided to back a compromise legislation on the living wage that according to the Wall Street Journal would require, “businesses that receive subsidies of $1 million or more will be required to pay their employees $10 an hour with benefits or $11.50 an hour without benefits. But in a compromise, the bill will no longer require the tenants who move in after these projects are completed to also abide by the higher wages.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz approves of the deal and he released this statement:

I am extremely happy that we have reached a deal on the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, and that this important bill will finally see a vote in the City Council. The deal we have reached today creates the strongest living wage legislation in the nation, one that will demand that direct recipients of significant taxpayer subsidies will do better by their employees. This will guarantee that happens and marks an important shift in the economic development policy in the City of New York. This bill sends an important message to the business community. Indeed, New York City is open for business, but not at the expense of the taxpayer. Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 13, 2012, 3:25 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

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Bronx Business Incubator Opens
January 9th, 2012

The Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a city-backed business incubator in the Bronx earlier today. The Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator at 890 Garrison Ave. in Hunts Point is set up to house 400 entrepreneurs. The New York City Economic Development Corporation helped started the incubator with a $250,000 grant. The incubator is the 8th to open as part of the city’s network of incubators.
Here is the release from the Mayor’s office: Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 9, 2012, 1:13 pm
In category: Economy,Gotham City,Land Use,Public Finance,Tech,Work and Labor | 12 Comments »

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Hearings on Helping Veterans
October 25th, 2011

The New York State Assembly along with the Senate Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force will be holding a televised town hall meeting tomorrow in conjunction with Time Warner Cable to discuss issues facing returning veterans. The meeting called, “New York Cares About Veterans” will take place from 6 -7:30 p.m..

The discussion, according to the press release, will include issues like the governments preparedness to provide services to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, providing veterans with jobs housing and education opportunities and what kind of help the military offers returning veterans. The Gazette recently took a look at the services provided to veterans by Mayor Michael Bloombergs Office of Veterans Affairs. A a number of city council members were shocked by the lack of services provided by OVA. The following press release contains locations where you can attend the state-wide town hall:

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By on October 25, 2011, 4:29 pm
In category: Albany,Economy,Eye on Albany,Health,Social Services,Work and Labor | 7 Comments »

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Quinn Ducks and Parries
October 6th, 2011

Yesterday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn presided over the passage of a bill that Mayor Michael Bloomberg adamantly opposes. Will she do it again?

This issue yesterday was the city’s increasing reliance on outside contractors. The City Council — obviously with strong backing from Quinn or else it wouldn’t have happened — unanimously passed a bill requiring a kind of cost-benefit analysis of proposed contracts.

Bloomberg later, according to WNYC’s Bob Hennelly blasted the measure. “To put impediments to us getting the best deal for the taxpayers particularly during this economy is something we can not tolerate. We are just not going to have this bill,” Bloomberg said.

The next issue could be the so-called Living Wage bill, a measure that would require businesses that get a city subsidy to pay their workers, not just the minimum wage but a living wage of $10 to $11.50 an hour, depending upon benefits.

The administration opposes that one too — usually trying to obscure the fact that it would only apply to employers getting city money. Yesterday Bloomberg somehow linked it to the Soviet Union.

Quinn wants the mayor’s business supporter and backing for her mayoral quest. She’s also probably like at least some unions on her side and a stamp of approval from the many council members who are for the living wage. And so despite repeated questioning from reporters who phrased and rephrased the question yesterday, Quinn would not be pinned down.

The verbal dueling after the jump.
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By on October 6, 2011, 3:55 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Gotham City,Health,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

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Quinn and ICE
August 17th, 2011

Council Speaker Christine Quinn introduced legislation today that would prohibit New York City’s department of corrections from subsidizing the work of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Make the Road New York issued this statement supporting the move:

“The announcement by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Mark-Viverito and Daniel Dromm that the New York City Council will prohibit New York City’s Department of Corrections from subsidizing and supporting the deportation of thousands of non-criminal New Yorkers each year is fantastic news.

Every day New York City benefits from the energy, initiative and hard-work of immigrants. In a city where forty percent of all New Yorkers are immigrants, and for the City to do its job, New York City government must not burn bridges to immigrant communities. Today, New York City is taking a clear stand that it refuses to be in the business of tearing apart of immigrant families and subsidizing the deportation of non-criminal New Yorkers.”

Quinn’s legislation follows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to pull out of the federal Secure Communities Program and the US government’s insistence that New York legally must take part in the program. Read the rest of this entry »

By on August 17, 2011, 1:12 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Demographics,Eye on Albany,Immigrants,Work and Labor | 5 Comments »

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Delaying Teacher Tenure
July 27th, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long criticized the almost automatic granting of lifetime tenure to teachers in the New York City school system. Today he announced results of his efforts to change tenure as we know it - and, while there are significant changes, the effort falls a bit short of a revolution.

Using what the city calls a “new framework for measuring teacher effectiveness” instituted in December, principals approved fewer teachers for tenure this year — 58 percent of 5,209 teachers as opposed to 97 percent of those eligible in 2006-7. Looking at the figures, it seems apparent that many teachers who might previously have gotten tenure after three years, saw their decisions delayed. Thirty-nine percent of the teachers fell into that category, compared with 2 percent in 2007. While the number of those denied increased, it remains small: 3 percent this year, as opposed to 1 percent four years ago.

Bloomberg expressed pleasure with the results, saying in a prepared statement, “Making tenure an earned distinction rather than an automatic right will help our teachers get better and ensure that more of them can develop into not just good but great teachers. Thats what our kids deserve and our parents expect.

All teachers are eligible for tenure review after three years.

Under the new system, principals evaluate teachers based on classroom observation, student work, test scores, student attendance and feedback from students and parents. They receive ratings on a four-point scale in three categories: teacher practice, student learning and contributions to the school community. To get tenure, the teacher must score at the top two levels effective or highly effective in all three areas for two consecutive years.

By on July 27, 2011, 12:57 pm
In category: Education,Gotham City,Work and Labor | Comments Off

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State Unemployment Rate Rises
July 21st, 2011

The State Labor Department is reporting that the jobs picture in New York is not exactly pretty. The state unemployment rate increased to 8 percent in June from 7.8 percent in May. The national unemployment rate for June was 9.2 percent. The number of unemployed also increased from 751,600 in May to 760,500 in June. The state gained 13,600 jobs in June or .2 percent.

“In June 2011, the New York State economy continued its recovery from the effects of the last recession, adding 13,600 private sector jobs. Like the nation as a whole, our state unemployment rate increased over the month, and now stands at 8.0%. However, we remained significantly below the nation’s jobless rate, which increased to 9.2% in June,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Chief of Labor Statistics, Division of Research and Statistics in a statement.

By on July 21, 2011, 2:52 pm
In category: Albany,Economy,Eye on Albany,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

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Tapping a Labor Fund
June 14th, 2011

Talks are continuing over whether the city labor unions would give the city money from a rainy day healthcare fund to go avert layoffs of 4,100 teachers and other city workers, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said today. Any money might also go to save some fire companies and seniors centers now slated to be shut.

At a press conference before todays scheduled council meeting, Quinn made it clear the idea of using money from the fund had come from the Municipal Labor Committee and its chairman, Harry Nespoli.

“I want to be vey clear how very grateful I am to Harry Nespoli and the Labor Council that they are even entertaining” helping the city government in this way, Quinn said.

She said the idea came up after “I said to Harry, ‘we need help,’… Harry said, “‘yes, let me see what we can do,’ and they got back to me.”

Currently, Quinn said, the labor group is considering what its specific proposal might be. Once they do, discussions can proceed from there, she said.

Nespoli and the committee are reportedly planning to discuss the idea tomorrow.
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By on June 14, 2011, 5:56 pm
In category: City Hall,Education,Gotham City,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Cuomo Introduces New Pension Tier, Bloomberg Digs It
June 8th, 2011

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced pension reform legislation that would create a Tier VI Pension for future employees. His office claims the measure will save taxpayers $93 billion dollars over the next 30 years–that is minus what is saved in New York City. The bill includes a pension reform measure exclusively for the city. The city reforms would apply to new employees of New York City including uniformed employees. Provisions in the legislation include: Read the rest of this entry »

By on June 8, 2011, 4:16 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Bing Takes Cuomo Appointment
June 8th, 2011

Assemblyman Jonathan Bing made a lot of enemies in the labor movement when he authored a bill that would have gotten rid of last in first out. He made so many enemies that his re-election to his seat was very much in doubt.

“As it is now we can’t get rid of teachers who perform unsatisfactorily after giving them due process,” Bing told the Gazette of his bill earlier this year. “I think there is a better system out there than the one we have now. I am not trying to bust any union.”

Bing’s stand prompted an election challenge from a candidate backed by the United Federation of Teachers. It also won him the endorsement of — and at least $4,000 from — Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made ending “last in, first out” a key goal. Bing won re-election with 65 percent of the vote.

But now thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bing has a new gig–special deputy superintendent of the New York Liquidation Bureau. If that doesn’t sound like a plum gig that is because it simply isn’t.

Bing put out this statement to supporters this morning: Read the rest of this entry »

By on June 8, 2011, 12:58 pm
In category: Albany,Education,Eye on Albany,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

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CityTime Manager Fudges Timesheets
May 25th, 2011

In an impromptu press conference, Comptroller John Liu revealed even the project manager of the Bloomberg administration’s plagued time keeping project couldn’t keep his own time.

According to a letter Liu received today, Science Application International Corp., the prime contractor on the project, put Gerard Denault on administrative leave in December after the project manager fudged his own time sheets. As a result, the company will refund the city $2.5 million.

“The very company entrusted by our city to build a time keeping system for New York City employees has grossly mismanaged their own time keeping and in the process overcharged the city taxpayers for sums of money still to be determined,” Liu said. “This is a sad day for New York City taxpayers.”

Liu said today he would ask the adminsitration to work with him on this issue. He also called for the administration to freeze all payments to SAIC and force the Department of Investigation to conduct a comprehensive review of other possible violations.

In response, Bloomberg spokesperson Marc LaVorgna sent over the following statement:

We will withhold any and all payments until the completion of the Department of Investigations ongoing review, which includes a forensic accountant we added last year. The project is essentially fully online and operational and SAICs contract with the city expires on June 30th. We already had stated we were not renewing the contract. SAIC is owed $32 million for the completion of the project; no payments will be made until the review is completed.

CityTime has been the bane of Bloomberg’s third term. Mired by delay and cost overruns, the debacle culminated in December when federal authorities indicted six employees for using shell companies to divert city money into their own pockets. Originally the project was supposed to cost about $60 million. Its price tag now is more than $700 million.

By on May 25, 2011, 5:41 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 4 Comments »

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Teacher Layoffs? REALLY?
May 12th, 2011

In a well-coordinated rally and march from City Hall to the financial district, hundreds of teachers protested Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to lay off thousands of teachers. A number of City Council members and possible 2012 mayoral candidate also attended the event

The speakers, the placards and the chant all sounded themes that no doubt will become increasingly familiar to New Yorkers in the weeks between now and July 1, when the city must approve its budget for fiscal year 2012: The cuts are not necessary, the rich need to pay more in taxes, and children should not bear the burnt of the city’s fiscal woes. That assumes, of course — an not everyone does — that the city has real fiscal woes.

“New York is not Wisconsin but we have to fight like it is,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We have a $3.2 billion surplus. There should not even be a discussion about cuts.”

Rev. A; Sharpton agreed, telling the crowd, “If we’ve got a surplus, why are we laying off teachers?”

(The mayor, of course, disputes this saying he is using what other consider a surplus to pay down the deficit confronting the city for 2013.)

The crowd then moved down Broadway to press it demand that the wealthy needed to pay more. “We want our money back,” they chanted, along with “Who are we? UFT.”

Despite the seriousness of their message the crowd was largely good-natured, a sentiment reflected in the black UFT tee-shirts many wore. With a bow to Seth Meyers and Amy Pohler, it read”

The education mayor?

REALLY?

By on May 12, 2011, 10:46 pm
In category: City Hall,Education,Gotham City,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Living Wage Gets Its Hearing
May 12th, 2011

Labor and city leadership collided this afternoon at a packed and feisty hearing on legislation to require city subsidized developers pay a living wage.

Under a bill introduced nearly a year ago, recipients of more than $100,000 in financial assistance would have to pay all of their employees either $11.50 or $10 an hour plus benefits. The controversial bill has garnered 30 sponsors at the council, but it does not have the Bloomberg administration’s support. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who controls the council’s agenda, has yet to take a position on the measure.

At today’s hearing, the chief of staff to the deputy mayor for economic development, Tokumbo Shobowale, endured two and half hours of back and forth with council members — the vast majority of those in attendance support the proposal. Shobowale attempted to convince the council that the adminsitration agrees with the premise of raising the standard of living for the working poor. It questions, Shobowale argued, whether a wage mandate is the way to do it.

“It’s not a philosophical difference,” Shobowale said. “It’s looking at the data.”

The hearing followed the release of a study on Monday by the Economic Development Corp., which argued the living wage proposal would result in between 33,000 and 100,000 job losses for the city. The study’s methodology and findings drew ire from supporters of the bill today.

“The administration is so full of it, you might want to consider a high-fiber diet,” said Councilmember Jumaane Williams. “It might help with that situation.”

The hearing amounted to a clash of academics and methodology — with supporters citing studies that supported living wage mandates, and the adminsitration calling its recently released analysis solid, current and comprehensive.

Just this morning, supporters of the bill released a counter analysis of the city’s living wage study, which argued its modeling did not rule out other factors that could affect job growth (like an economic downturn). Supporters also claim the city-sponsored study examines the wrong population of projects — it includes an as-of-right subsidy for industrial and commercial properties the bill is not meant to capture.
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By on May 12, 2011, 6:37 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 8 Comments »

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Koppell Would Consider Motion to Discharge for Living Wage
May 11th, 2011

Councilmember Oliver Koppell told Gotham Gazette today he would consider triggering a rare council rule to bring his living wage bill to the floor should Council Speaker Christine Quinn choose to oppose it.

“I would consider it, yes,” said Koppell at the Emigrant Savings Bank. “I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I’m hoping to convince the speaker to support this or some version of this.”

Typically legislation does not move at the City Council unless it has earned the support of the speaker. Quinn refused to say this afternoon whether she would bring the legislation to the floor or when she would decide whether or not to support it.

The bill, which has strong backing from many of the city’s unions, would require city subsidized developers pay a living wage. The Bloomberg adminsitration does not support the measure. On Monday, the city Economic Development Corp. released a study claiming a wage mandate would stall development and reduce jobs in the five boroughs.

Koppell said today, “The assumptions of the mayor are more than questionable.”

Koppell’s bill has been stalled in committee for nearly a year, despite the fact it has garnered 30 sponsors.

At the beginning of Quinn’s tenure — and in the name of transparency — Quinn revised the council rules to make it easier to bring a bill to the floor if it was stalled in committee. A council member must get seven members to sign a memo to bring the bill to the floor. The full council then determines whether the legislation should have a formal vote.

This procedure is rarely ever used and is considered an affront to the speaker’s leadership.

By on May 11, 2011, 3:51 pm
In category: City Hall,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Quinn Mum on Living Wage Decision
May 11th, 2011

Council Speaker Christine Quinn refused to take a position on legislation to require a living wage this afternoon, but instead said she would review a recently released study and forthcoming testimony on the matter.

The Economic Development Corp. released a study Monday which found requiring a living wage mandate at city subsidized developments would result in job losses. Legislation to require such wage mandates has been pending at the council for more than a year.

The bill will get its first hearing tomorrow, and both opponents and supporters are scheduled to make a strong showing. Quinn said today she would not attend the hearing.

“We are looking forward to a robust hearing,” Quinn said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the testimony from both the proponents and the opponents. Having the portions of the EDC report that are out there will make the hearing a more informed and interesting hearing.”

When asked if she knew when she would make a decision on whether to bring the bill to a vote, Quinn said: “When I have one.”

Quinn would not say whether the bill would eventually get to the floor.

Already 30 council members have signed on to the legislation. The lead sponsors of the bill, council members Oliver Koppell and Annabal Palma, could file a motion to discharge — which would send the bill to the floor if it had enough support outside of the speaker’s office. The move has only occurred once during Quinn’s tenure.

By on May 11, 2011, 2:42 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Clash at IDA Board Over Study
May 10th, 2011

A small spat erupted at this morning’s Industrial Development Agency board meeting, when Bronx borough president appointee Albert Rodriguez questioned the legitimacy and release of the city’s living wage study.

Rodriguez chastised the Economic Development Corp., which is the parent agency to the Industrial Development Agency, for hastily releasing the study’s executive summary to the press before giving a copy to the board on Monday. He also seriously questioned the report’s findings, which suggest a living wage mandate for city subsidized developments would result in job losses. Legislation to require similar wage standards is currently ruminating at the City Council.

Rodriguez called the study “political football for the interest of the Bloomberg adminsitration” and “very flawed.”

“This was a waste of money,” Rodriguez said. “We could have hired nine more teachers.”

The IDA board authorized the agency to spend $1 million on the study, which was conducted by Boston-based consulting firm, Charles River Associates.

The study’s executive summary was released yesterday afternoon in anticipation of a City Council hearing scheduled for Thursday, said EDC President Seth Pinsky. The City Council had asked the agency to accelerate the study’s release so it could discuss the findings at the hearing. The full report will be released in the “coming weeks,” Pinsky said.

In defense of the study, Pinsky said it was “disappointing” officials would allege the agency was playing politics.

“I think [the study] is very similar, in fact, to the approach that’s been taken on many of the studies that have been cited by proponents of wage mandates,” Pinsky said. “What the study found was the legislation that has been proposed in the City Council here in New York is dramatically different from wage mandate legislation that has been proposed across the country. The additional requirements that are put into this particular legislation… they would make it extremely difficult and unlikely that people would continue to take the benefits.”

Pinsky said there are other ways to create better “living standards,” including expanding the benefits of the earned income tax credit. Any change in that tax credit would need federal, state and city approval. Pinsky also said the agency is conducting an internal study on how it can expand jobs in various middle income sectors, like construction or health care.

“There is nobody on either side of this debate who doesn’t want to figure out a way to raise the living standards of the least fortunate members of society,” Pinsky said. “The question is: Is this the right way to do it?”

The study found living wage policies would increase the standard wage at city subsidized developments, but could result in substantial job losses — anywhere from 33,000 to 100,000. Immediately after the executive summary was released, a Bloomberg spokesperson reiterated the administration’s opposition to the bill.

Rodriguez too is not without political motives. His boss, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., proposed the living wage legislation after the City Council rejected a proposal to develop the Kingsbridge Armory in the borough. The proposal was defeated because the developer would not promise to force tenants to pay a living wage.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 10, 2011, 12:26 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Living Wage Study Says Policy Costs Jobs
May 9th, 2011

After much anticipation, the city Economic Development Corp. released a $1 million study on living wage policy today, which finds implementing higher pay standards at city subsidized developments would cost jobs.

The study examines legislation at the City Council to require any entity who recieves more than $100,000 in financial assistance from the city to pay a living wage. Thirty council members have signed on in support of the measure. Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not revealed her position. Although the speaker has Ok’d a hearing on the bill, which is scheduled for Thursday.

The adminsitration called for the study, which was conducted by Boston-based consulting firm Charles River Associates, last year after the City Council defeated a controversial development at the Kingsbridge Armory. The developer refused to guarantee tenants of the proposal would pay a living wage.

The study found certain development projects would no longer be “financially feasible” if the city adopted a living wage mandate. As a result, it argues, the city would lose jobs.

In response to the study, Andrew Brent, a mayoral spokesperson, released the following statement:

The study is clear: the legislation would result in major job losses at all income levels and particularly among low-income New Yorkers. The biggest job losses would occur in the areas with the highest unemployment at a time when too many New Yorkers are without jobs as it is. The legislation would have a very harmful effect on growth opportunities of small businesses and the creation of affordable housing, and it would reduce overall private investment in New York City by an estimated $7 billion. Aggregate wages among low-skilled workers would not change because any gains among some workers would be more than offset by families losing employment opportunities entirely. The goal of increasing wages among New Yorkers of course is a good one, but this type of approach in other cities hasnt just failed, its done so with severe consequences for job-seekers and businesses.

But not everyone was thrilled with the results. In response to the study, Comptroller John Liu (a frequent critic of the Economic Development Corp.) released the following statement:

The EDCs claim that a living wage kills jobs shows just how distorted the agencys operations have become. The proposed living wage would be a requirement on new projects that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. It may curtail the number of new minimum wage jobs, with the hope that these new jobs would then pay a decent wage. The claim of job losses is rhetoric at its worst.

Asked what he thinks the study means for the living wage legislation currently under consideration at the City Council, Paul Sonn, legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project, still seemed optimistic.

“The council I’m sure will give it careful consideration,” Sonn said. “We expect them to look at more rigorous research, which includes other studies and hearing the real world experiences of other cities.”

And for your reading pleasure:

Living Wage Exec Summary_2011 05 09

By on May 9, 2011, 6:11 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Fare Increase Not a Bargaining Chip?
April 29th, 2011

Asking for a fare increase as city officials are trying to get a new class of cab in the outer boroughs isn’t playing hardball, Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told Gotham Gazette today.

It’s merely about timing.

“It’s generally not a negotiation ploy by us,” Desai said, citing the increased cost of gas. “For us, the fare proposal has been in the works, because we know next month it will be seven years since we’ve had an overall raise. Driver income has not been at a livable standard.”

The alliance announced this week it will be asking the Taxi and Limousine Commission for an approximately 25 percent fare increase. The proposal will not be finalized until Wednesday, but Desai said it would likely ask for the waiting rate to increase from 40 to 50 cents and the mileage rate to go up to $2.50 from $2. The alliance will also ask for increases in taxi surcharges for rush hour and late night.

The request comes as the Bloomberg administration attempts to drill down a proposal to get more cab service in the outer boroughs. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in his State of the City speech in January he would propose legislation to allow livery cabs in the outer boroughs to pick up people hailing on the street — prohibited under current law.

After a backlash from city officials and the taxi industry, the administration is considering creating another class of yellow cab that would be limited to outer-borough pick ups instead.

Desai said the alliance isn’t opposed to servicing the outer boroughs, but as it stands now it’s not economical. Drivers cannot cruise residential streets for street pickups without losing money, she said. A fare increase would help convince drivers to go to Brooklyn or Queens, Desai added. She also suggested creating cab stands in commercial areas of the outer boroughs.

On his radio show this morning, Bloomberg said he was sympathetic to the cab industry’s qualms.

Above all else, Desai said she wants to make sure the yellow cab reserves the exclusive right to pick up New Yorkers at the curbside.

“We don’t want to see more vehicles on the road,” she said. “It’s going to increase congestion and increase competition in a field where it’s already competitive.”

By on April 29, 2011, 4:44 pm
In category: City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Immigrants,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Transportation,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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