Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/economic-development 2019-04-22T04:28:37+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Alicia Glen on Her Legacy as Deputy Mayor and the Future of New York City 2019-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 2019-04-09T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8434-alicia-glen-on-her-legacy-as-deputy-mayor Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/alicia-glen-deputy.jpg" alt="alicia glen deputy" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Alicia Glen (photo: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>After more than five years as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Alicia Glen recently left City Hall, having spearheaded a major affordable housing plan, efforts to diversify the city economy, and other aspects of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s agenda, which she helped shape.</p> <p>Glen oversaw the city’s troubled public housing authority, the implementation of a new ferry system, investments into public land to spur business development and the rezoning of East Midtown, and more. In <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a recent lengthy and wide-ranging interview</a>, she reflected on her work as deputy mayor, the state of the city as she leaves its government, some of the unfinished work she started, and the fact that for an official with her portfolio, much of the legacy will not come to fruition for years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Appearing on the What’s the [Data] Point? podcast</a> from Citizens Budget Commission and Gotham Gazette, Glen also gave her take on the recently-opened Hudson Yards, what should be done with Rikers Island when the jails there are closed, the fallout from the undoing of the deal to bring Amazon to Queens, whether she might ever run for elected office herself, and more. Glen said that she came to the position with a different background from some of her predecessors in prior administrations, which fit the goals de Blasio had laid out as a candidate, to use the tools of government to fight inequality.</p> <p>“I had come from a background of having really spent time on all sides of the issues,” Glen said. “I had been a legal services lawyer, I had worked in city government before, I had run an urban development platform that was focused on public-private partnerships, and I was really truly truly like a born and bred New Yorker who had grown up in a sort of lefty upper west side household and that was a major change.”</p> <p>“I came in after three men who had come from Wall Street, as had I, but had come from sort of a different perspective,” she continued, “all terrific people in their own way, but I certainly felt a pressure of being a woman in this job with a difference in political perspective.”</p> <p>“I am a woman and I think you do think about the world differently and how you structure deals. And clearly, I was a person in the administration who had come from more of a financial and pro-business background, but not to be conflated with somebody who had never actually been in the trenches working with all these issues, which I had been working on my whole life,” she said, explaining her perspective as she came into the job in 2014.</p> <p>When asked about her mission coming into office, she said, “I think most people felt really positive about the city. I get it, people look and these big metrics and crime was down, tax collection was up. Things were generally good by those broad metrics. By the same token, it was clear that both the mayor’s election itself was a bit of a referendum on how some people were left out of the recovery, if you will, from both 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008.”</p> <p>“We clearly were elected as change agents with a mandate,” she said.</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Alicia Glen on What's The [Data] Point?</a>]</p> <p>Until de Blasio named Vicki Been, a former city housing commissioner in his administration, as Glen’s successor, Glen was the only deputy mayor for housing and economic development in this mayor’s tenure. She helped design, redesign, and push ahead the administration's 300,000-unit affordable housing plan, which has coincided with changes to the city’s land use rules to help spur affordable housing and the upzonings of several neighborhoods. The plan has been criticized by some on the left as too broad, not targered enough on the lowest-income New Yorkers and those experiencing homelessness, with too many subsidized units for individuals of moderate and middle incomes.</p> <p>“Many many folks, many communities felt not included in that good part of the story and [Mayor Bill de Blasio] came in on a platform of ways we can address those issues, and so for me, obviously, thinking about how we could make a real dent and shift into a more proactive stance both on inclusive economic development for job growth and a more five borough economy and thinking about what that meant in the 21st century and then obviously his signature initiative of trying to do something in housing that was much bigger than been done, even in prior administrations,” Glen said.</p> <p>Now out of government, Glen was asked if the affordable housing mix was the right one. Unsurprisingly, she said yes, arguing it is important that New York not become a “barbell city” with only wealthy and poor people. She touted the administration’s work on the “messy middle,” helping to provide moderate- and middle-income people with subsidized housing.</p> <p>“There’s a natural inclination for people to say we should put every single dime and all the resources we have into serving our most vulnerable people,” she said. “But what kind of city are we going to be if literally people who make eighty to ninety thousand dollars a year cannot live here and are forced to commute two hours out of town.”</p> <p>The de Blasio administration has been criticized for exclusively upzoning lower-income neighborhoods, communities of color, to both create more housing density and invest in local areas. Developers are thus allowed to build bigger, but have more affordable housing requirements in the mix.</p> <p>“I continue to think the mayor’s position and our position was that you have to link density to more equitable growth and you have to buy into the notion of growth,” Glen said.</p> <p>“We are now building a significant number of permanently affordable units across the city, both in private projects and neighborhood-wide rezoning. And that’s going to take a while to bake into the zeitgeist and for communities to realize that we meant it and that we have permanently changed the blueprint for how you do increased residential growth across the city,” she said.</p> <p>“These are fights. Every single inch you have to fight, and you have to take. It takes political leadership and courage,” Glen continued. “There are several deals where I really wish the [City] Council had shown a little bit more guts around these issues and I really hope going forward people understand the tradeoff of some increase in density in order to assure we are proportionally building permanent affordable housing in New York City in the right deal for New Yorkers. I wish I could have done more of that.”</p> <p>Asked which neighborhoods she would upzone if she could snap her fingers and do it -- a laughable concept given how notoriously contentious New York City land use decisions can be -- Glen returned to the list of neighborhood rezonings that the administration said it wanted to at least explore a few years ago, citing Flushing and Southern Boulevard in the Bronx as places she’d still like to see rezonings move ahead. The city has moved ahead on fewer than expected, though several major rezonings have happened, in places like East New York and East Harlem, with others on the docket for this year and beyond.</p> <p>The city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, has had a tumultuous past few years, from charges of mismanagement to illegality, with questions about mold and lead paint remediation, and forged documents, plus ongoing sagas around buildings that are falling apart. Recently, NYCHA and the city entered into an agreement with federal authorities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which includes a federal monitor of NYCHA.</p> <p>Asked about her role on NYCHA and whether she saw it from the beginning as a key part of her portfolio, Glen said absolutely. “[I]t was 100% under me,” she said, while acknowledging it is a complicated situation given it is an authority, not a city agency. “I worked very closely with the chair of the housing authority and the staff there and we did make a lot of progress.”</p> <p>“It is something we have to own in many ways, not literally because it’s a federal authority, but we have to own it in terms of what we see the future of New York City to be and the incredible resource that the housing authority can and should continue to be for low-income New Yorkers,” Glen said. “It is an enormously complex issue and, as I said, this is something, it took 80 years to get to where we were. If it takes four years to figure out how to have a housing authority in the 21st century given federal policy, that doesn’t feel good if you are the person living in the housing authority and your conditions are terrible and I would ever want to suggest that that isn’t a real issue, but systemically, it’s a very complicated issue.”</p> <p>Glen expressed excitement about the “NYCHA 2.0” plan the administration announced at the end of last year, which includes a more aggressive program to build new housing on underused NYCHA land, housing that will be a mix of market-rate and affordable housing and the proceeds from the leases to developers will go into NYCHA repairs.</p> <p>On economic development, Glen also highlighted investments that she believes will pay off long-term for the city, including development of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal, key city assets that the city is now more fully utilizing to help spur job creation.</p> <p>She also cited the rezoning of East Midtown to foster modernization and growth of the key office and retail hub. Glen worked with City Council Member Daniel Garodnick to pass a complicated rezoning of the area that had faltered, she noted, during the end of the Bloomberg administration.</p> <p>Glen’s economic development legacy will also include her role in helping strike the deal, later undone, to bring an Amazon headquarters to New York City.</p> <p>“I think Amazon underestimated what it would and should take to establish a major presence in New York City,” she said. “I think they misunderstood how much that needed to be front and center as they continued to engage.”</p> <p>“At the end of the day, they may not be as sophisticated as they should be and it’s too bad because ultimately having up to 40,000 jobs would have been a very good thing for New York City,” Glen said.</p> <p>But what does the undoing of the Amazon deal mean for New York City in terms of attracting companies? Not much, Glen said. While she acknowledged an anti-corporate energy as evidenced by the public backlash against the Amazon deal, she said, “what I worry about and what I’d say to all the advocates and folks who have been against Amazon is if you create an atmosphere that companies do want to participate in a smarter, more collaborative engagement process around workforce development and public benefits, if you send a message that folks are not welcome in those areas, all you’re going to do is send them back to Manhattan. Is that really what you wanted?”</p> <p>However, she doesn’t see the failed Amazon deal disincentivizing other businesses from expanding into New York offices. “The fundamental reasons why Amazon wanted to be here are still here,” Glen said. “We still have the most extraordinarily diverse, educated talent pool and we have the coolest city.” She cited Google’s recent expansion in the city, which she said she helped negotiate over the course of years.</p> <p>In terms of future projects, Glen still thinks the planned Brooklyn Queens Connector, or BQX, will happen, just that it won’t “happen on the original timeframe.” She also wants the city to look further into an aerial gondola to connect lower Manhattan and Governors Island. Glen wants a new soccer stadium in New York so New York FC doesn’t have to play in Yankee Stadium. She called development of Sunnyside Yard, “it’s the future,” explaining that “if you’re pro-growth, Sunnyside Yard is going to be the next great community.” Glen said it would be a “more scaled and a more inclusive version of Hudson Yards,” with a great “open space ratio” and the “best of the planning principles that the de Blasio administration embraces: true mixed use, but not scared of density.”</p> <p>Asked about the newly-opened Hudson Yards development of office, retail, and residential space on the far west side of Manhattan, Glen said, “It's not my personal favorite place. It's not a 'neighborhood' as they are characterizing it.” But, she also called it an “extraordinarily important piece of the broader New York City economic puzzle” because of the new office space coming online. “Architecturally and design-wise,” however, “it seems very male to me,” she said. The investments made have “proven to be true” and provide an important revenue stream.</p> <p>On the future of Rikers Island, where the jails are targeted for closure over the next several years, Glen said the administration had looked at it closely, including for housing development, but few things make “economic sense” for the island given “its in the flight path, it’s very hard to get to.”</p> <p>“I think that Rikers Island could be and should be a place where there are a lot of really important city services that can be relocated there, so that we can free up some of the other spaces that could be more highly utilized for housing, for schools, for job creation,” she said. She also said there could be “an interesting deal to be made possibly with the Port [Authority], to sell it to them to do the next [LaGuardia Airport] runway.” She indicated she has several ideas for land swaps with the Port Authority.</p> <p>As for her own future, Glen said she doesn’t know what the next thing will be yet, though she will continue to be involved as chair in one of her recently-launched initiatives, women.nyc, a multi-service platform for women, with a variety of resources, because, she said, “New York City really has the opportunity to be the place where women can succeed -- and to say that as such, to brand ourselves as such.”</p> <p>Asked if she would ever run for elected office, Glen indicated it might be on the table. “Right now, I’m still recovering and trying to go to yoga a few times a week,” she said, but added: “I think I wouldn’t rule it out because the fact that New York City doesn’t have, right now, a lot of women candidates. There are an unbelievable number of young women out there who blow my mind every single day, but there’s still a dearth of women who have executive experience, have run complex organizations, who’ve had multiple experiences, both in politics and the private sector, and in the nonprofit sector. You know, it’s something I would obviously think about at the right time.”</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Alicia Glen on What's The [Data] Point?</a>]</p> <p>

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by Truman Stephens, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed to this story.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/alicia-glen-deputy.jpg" alt="alicia glen deputy" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Alicia Glen (photo: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>After more than five years as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Alicia Glen recently left City Hall, having spearheaded a major affordable housing plan, efforts to diversify the city economy, and other aspects of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s agenda, which she helped shape.</p> <p>Glen oversaw the city’s troubled public housing authority, the implementation of a new ferry system, investments into public land to spur business development and the rezoning of East Midtown, and more. In <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a recent lengthy and wide-ranging interview</a>, she reflected on her work as deputy mayor, the state of the city as she leaves its government, some of the unfinished work she started, and the fact that for an official with her portfolio, much of the legacy will not come to fruition for years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Appearing on the What’s the [Data] Point? podcast</a> from Citizens Budget Commission and Gotham Gazette, Glen also gave her take on the recently-opened Hudson Yards, what should be done with Rikers Island when the jails there are closed, the fallout from the undoing of the deal to bring Amazon to Queens, whether she might ever run for elected office herself, and more. Glen said that she came to the position with a different background from some of her predecessors in prior administrations, which fit the goals de Blasio had laid out as a candidate, to use the tools of government to fight inequality.</p> <p>“I had come from a background of having really spent time on all sides of the issues,” Glen said. “I had been a legal services lawyer, I had worked in city government before, I had run an urban development platform that was focused on public-private partnerships, and I was really truly truly like a born and bred New Yorker who had grown up in a sort of lefty upper west side household and that was a major change.”</p> <p>“I came in after three men who had come from Wall Street, as had I, but had come from sort of a different perspective,” she continued, “all terrific people in their own way, but I certainly felt a pressure of being a woman in this job with a difference in political perspective.”</p> <p>“I am a woman and I think you do think about the world differently and how you structure deals. And clearly, I was a person in the administration who had come from more of a financial and pro-business background, but not to be conflated with somebody who had never actually been in the trenches working with all these issues, which I had been working on my whole life,” she said, explaining her perspective as she came into the job in 2014.</p> <p>When asked about her mission coming into office, she said, “I think most people felt really positive about the city. I get it, people look and these big metrics and crime was down, tax collection was up. Things were generally good by those broad metrics. By the same token, it was clear that both the mayor’s election itself was a bit of a referendum on how some people were left out of the recovery, if you will, from both 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008.”</p> <p>“We clearly were elected as change agents with a mandate,” she said.</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Alicia Glen on What's The [Data] Point?</a>]</p> <p>Until de Blasio named Vicki Been, a former city housing commissioner in his administration, as Glen’s successor, Glen was the only deputy mayor for housing and economic development in this mayor’s tenure. She helped design, redesign, and push ahead the administration's 300,000-unit affordable housing plan, which has coincided with changes to the city’s land use rules to help spur affordable housing and the upzonings of several neighborhoods. The plan has been criticized by some on the left as too broad, not targered enough on the lowest-income New Yorkers and those experiencing homelessness, with too many subsidized units for individuals of moderate and middle incomes.</p> <p>“Many many folks, many communities felt not included in that good part of the story and [Mayor Bill de Blasio] came in on a platform of ways we can address those issues, and so for me, obviously, thinking about how we could make a real dent and shift into a more proactive stance both on inclusive economic development for job growth and a more five borough economy and thinking about what that meant in the 21st century and then obviously his signature initiative of trying to do something in housing that was much bigger than been done, even in prior administrations,” Glen said.</p> <p>Now out of government, Glen was asked if the affordable housing mix was the right one. Unsurprisingly, she said yes, arguing it is important that New York not become a “barbell city” with only wealthy and poor people. She touted the administration’s work on the “messy middle,” helping to provide moderate- and middle-income people with subsidized housing.</p> <p>“There’s a natural inclination for people to say we should put every single dime and all the resources we have into serving our most vulnerable people,” she said. “But what kind of city are we going to be if literally people who make eighty to ninety thousand dollars a year cannot live here and are forced to commute two hours out of town.”</p> <p>The de Blasio administration has been criticized for exclusively upzoning lower-income neighborhoods, communities of color, to both create more housing density and invest in local areas. Developers are thus allowed to build bigger, but have more affordable housing requirements in the mix.</p> <p>“I continue to think the mayor’s position and our position was that you have to link density to more equitable growth and you have to buy into the notion of growth,” Glen said.</p> <p>“We are now building a significant number of permanently affordable units across the city, both in private projects and neighborhood-wide rezoning. And that’s going to take a while to bake into the zeitgeist and for communities to realize that we meant it and that we have permanently changed the blueprint for how you do increased residential growth across the city,” she said.</p> <p>“These are fights. Every single inch you have to fight, and you have to take. It takes political leadership and courage,” Glen continued. “There are several deals where I really wish the [City] Council had shown a little bit more guts around these issues and I really hope going forward people understand the tradeoff of some increase in density in order to assure we are proportionally building permanent affordable housing in New York City in the right deal for New Yorkers. I wish I could have done more of that.”</p> <p>Asked which neighborhoods she would upzone if she could snap her fingers and do it -- a laughable concept given how notoriously contentious New York City land use decisions can be -- Glen returned to the list of neighborhood rezonings that the administration said it wanted to at least explore a few years ago, citing Flushing and Southern Boulevard in the Bronx as places she’d still like to see rezonings move ahead. The city has moved ahead on fewer than expected, though several major rezonings have happened, in places like East New York and East Harlem, with others on the docket for this year and beyond.</p> <p>The city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, has had a tumultuous past few years, from charges of mismanagement to illegality, with questions about mold and lead paint remediation, and forged documents, plus ongoing sagas around buildings that are falling apart. Recently, NYCHA and the city entered into an agreement with federal authorities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which includes a federal monitor of NYCHA.</p> <p>Asked about her role on NYCHA and whether she saw it from the beginning as a key part of her portfolio, Glen said absolutely. “[I]t was 100% under me,” she said, while acknowledging it is a complicated situation given it is an authority, not a city agency. “I worked very closely with the chair of the housing authority and the staff there and we did make a lot of progress.”</p> <p>“It is something we have to own in many ways, not literally because it’s a federal authority, but we have to own it in terms of what we see the future of New York City to be and the incredible resource that the housing authority can and should continue to be for low-income New Yorkers,” Glen said. “It is an enormously complex issue and, as I said, this is something, it took 80 years to get to where we were. If it takes four years to figure out how to have a housing authority in the 21st century given federal policy, that doesn’t feel good if you are the person living in the housing authority and your conditions are terrible and I would ever want to suggest that that isn’t a real issue, but systemically, it’s a very complicated issue.”</p> <p>Glen expressed excitement about the “NYCHA 2.0” plan the administration announced at the end of last year, which includes a more aggressive program to build new housing on underused NYCHA land, housing that will be a mix of market-rate and affordable housing and the proceeds from the leases to developers will go into NYCHA repairs.</p> <p>On economic development, Glen also highlighted investments that she believes will pay off long-term for the city, including development of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal, key city assets that the city is now more fully utilizing to help spur job creation.</p> <p>She also cited the rezoning of East Midtown to foster modernization and growth of the key office and retail hub. Glen worked with City Council Member Daniel Garodnick to pass a complicated rezoning of the area that had faltered, she noted, during the end of the Bloomberg administration.</p> <p>Glen’s economic development legacy will also include her role in helping strike the deal, later undone, to bring an Amazon headquarters to New York City.</p> <p>“I think Amazon underestimated what it would and should take to establish a major presence in New York City,” she said. “I think they misunderstood how much that needed to be front and center as they continued to engage.”</p> <p>“At the end of the day, they may not be as sophisticated as they should be and it’s too bad because ultimately having up to 40,000 jobs would have been a very good thing for New York City,” Glen said.</p> <p>But what does the undoing of the Amazon deal mean for New York City in terms of attracting companies? Not much, Glen said. While she acknowledged an anti-corporate energy as evidenced by the public backlash against the Amazon deal, she said, “what I worry about and what I’d say to all the advocates and folks who have been against Amazon is if you create an atmosphere that companies do want to participate in a smarter, more collaborative engagement process around workforce development and public benefits, if you send a message that folks are not welcome in those areas, all you’re going to do is send them back to Manhattan. Is that really what you wanted?”</p> <p>However, she doesn’t see the failed Amazon deal disincentivizing other businesses from expanding into New York offices. “The fundamental reasons why Amazon wanted to be here are still here,” Glen said. “We still have the most extraordinarily diverse, educated talent pool and we have the coolest city.” She cited Google’s recent expansion in the city, which she said she helped negotiate over the course of years.</p> <p>In terms of future projects, Glen still thinks the planned Brooklyn Queens Connector, or BQX, will happen, just that it won’t “happen on the original timeframe.” She also wants the city to look further into an aerial gondola to connect lower Manhattan and Governors Island. Glen wants a new soccer stadium in New York so New York FC doesn’t have to play in Yankee Stadium. She called development of Sunnyside Yard, “it’s the future,” explaining that “if you’re pro-growth, Sunnyside Yard is going to be the next great community.” Glen said it would be a “more scaled and a more inclusive version of Hudson Yards,” with a great “open space ratio” and the “best of the planning principles that the de Blasio administration embraces: true mixed use, but not scared of density.”</p> <p>Asked about the newly-opened Hudson Yards development of office, retail, and residential space on the far west side of Manhattan, Glen said, “It's not my personal favorite place. It's not a 'neighborhood' as they are characterizing it.” But, she also called it an “extraordinarily important piece of the broader New York City economic puzzle” because of the new office space coming online. “Architecturally and design-wise,” however, “it seems very male to me,” she said. The investments made have “proven to be true” and provide an important revenue stream.</p> <p>On the future of Rikers Island, where the jails are targeted for closure over the next several years, Glen said the administration had looked at it closely, including for housing development, but few things make “economic sense” for the island given “its in the flight path, it’s very hard to get to.”</p> <p>“I think that Rikers Island could be and should be a place where there are a lot of really important city services that can be relocated there, so that we can free up some of the other spaces that could be more highly utilized for housing, for schools, for job creation,” she said. She also said there could be “an interesting deal to be made possibly with the Port [Authority], to sell it to them to do the next [LaGuardia Airport] runway.” She indicated she has several ideas for land swaps with the Port Authority.</p> <p>As for her own future, Glen said she doesn’t know what the next thing will be yet, though she will continue to be involved as chair in one of her recently-launched initiatives, women.nyc, a multi-service platform for women, with a variety of resources, because, she said, “New York City really has the opportunity to be the place where women can succeed -- and to say that as such, to brand ourselves as such.”</p> <p>Asked if she would ever run for elected office, Glen indicated it might be on the table. “Right now, I’m still recovering and trying to go to yoga a few times a week,” she said, but added: “I think I wouldn’t rule it out because the fact that New York City doesn’t have, right now, a lot of women candidates. There are an unbelievable number of young women out there who blow my mind every single day, but there’s still a dearth of women who have executive experience, have run complex organizations, who’ve had multiple experiences, both in politics and the private sector, and in the nonprofit sector. You know, it’s something I would obviously think about at the right time.”</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Alicia Glen on What's The [Data] Point?</a>]</p> <p>

***
by Truman Stephens, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed to this story.</p>
The Business Imbalance is Bad for the City 2019-04-03T04:00:00+00:00 2019-04-03T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8415-the-business-imbalance-is-bad-for-the-city Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/36936306332_8fb2c480cb_z.jpg" alt="business office" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The political imbalance in New York City between business and “anti-business” forces is becoming untenable.</p> <p>What is happening here has been in the works for many years and was not difficult to predict. Rising income inequality and the perception of a corrupt ruling class brought us the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, and the 2016 presidential candidacies of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.</p> <p>As the nation gears up for the 2020 presidential race, rhetoric pitting “corporate interests” against “the people” is once again front and center. And this is cascading down to our local politics in a way that risks damaging our city’s economic potential.</p> <p>“Business” has become such a bad word that some elected officials have shunned accepting campaign donations or even attending meetings and events that might suggest an affiliation. And public policy debates are increasingly premised on the notion that business is an adversary and somehow acting in nefarious ways.</p> <p>We must not continue down this path at the local level.</p> <p>The business community is a pivotal constituency in New York City’s continued success. For example, the real estate industry has a huge stake in keeping the city humming if for nothing else than because their assets are inextricably linked to the city’s prosperity. Employers here want New York’s quality of life to remain high so their best employees don’t move to other cities. Why wouldn’t we want them to be at the table?</p> <p>Drowning out the voices of business enables the loud voices of an influential few to drive public policy – without adhering to the will of the many. Pushing out Amazon – which had support from a majority of New Yorkers to locate a new campus here – is a “prime” example. In that instance, several high-ranking elected officials refused to even meet with the company. Two-thirds of New Yorkers agree that the loss of Amazon, its projected 25,000 jobs, and its tens of billions of dollars in expected tax revenues is bad for our city.</p> <p>Now there’s another issue that is playing out in a similar way.</p> <p>The state currently allows restaurants in New York City to pay waiters $10 per hour, so long as tips ensure that the employee is earning at least the minimum wage (now $15 per hour) at the end of the day.&nbsp;It’s called the “tip credit,” and it enables restaurants – which often have notoriously low profit margins – to reduce their labor costs. Surveys show that tipped workers end up earning $25 per hour, on average, when tips are included.&nbsp;Some make even more.</p> <p>The issue should be a no-brainer. Indeed, the vast majority of restaurant owners and their wait staffs want to maintain the current system. (When Maine phased out its tip credit in 2016, thousands of servers led the successful fight to restore it because their paychecks were diminishing.) But a well-funded contingent of celebrities and misinformed activists are trying to drown out these voices in order to eliminate the credit in New York – and sadly, it seems to be working.</p> <p>Some elected officials are repeating inflammatory talking points, namely that waiters are somehow not earning the minimum wage under this system. That would be of paramount concern to me, as well, were it not absolutely false. Yet no one seems to be listening to the facts, so unwilling they are to believe that employers and their employees could actually be on the same side of an issue.</p> <p>New York City loses when policy debates adhere to this ‘business versus anti-business’ divide, particularly when the business side is assumed to be biased and dismissed as a result. I am certainly not advocating for pay-to-play politics, which is unethical, illegal, and at odds with the development of smart public policy. We need robust, thoughtful solutions that will move New York forward, remembering that we all believe in a better, stronger city for the future.</p> <p>This requires public servants to engage with all parties and then make determinations based on all of these points of view. If we don’t maintain that balance, and base decisions on facts and impartial analysis, poorly-informed public policies will increase – and New York City will be worse for it.</p> <p>***<br />Jessica Walker is President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jessinharlem" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@jessinharlem</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/ManhattanCofC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@ManhattanCofC</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/36936306332_8fb2c480cb_z.jpg" alt="business office" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The political imbalance in New York City between business and “anti-business” forces is becoming untenable.</p> <p>What is happening here has been in the works for many years and was not difficult to predict. Rising income inequality and the perception of a corrupt ruling class brought us the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, and the 2016 presidential candidacies of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.</p> <p>As the nation gears up for the 2020 presidential race, rhetoric pitting “corporate interests” against “the people” is once again front and center. And this is cascading down to our local politics in a way that risks damaging our city’s economic potential.</p> <p>“Business” has become such a bad word that some elected officials have shunned accepting campaign donations or even attending meetings and events that might suggest an affiliation. And public policy debates are increasingly premised on the notion that business is an adversary and somehow acting in nefarious ways.</p> <p>We must not continue down this path at the local level.</p> <p>The business community is a pivotal constituency in New York City’s continued success. For example, the real estate industry has a huge stake in keeping the city humming if for nothing else than because their assets are inextricably linked to the city’s prosperity. Employers here want New York’s quality of life to remain high so their best employees don’t move to other cities. Why wouldn’t we want them to be at the table?</p> <p>Drowning out the voices of business enables the loud voices of an influential few to drive public policy – without adhering to the will of the many. Pushing out Amazon – which had support from a majority of New Yorkers to locate a new campus here – is a “prime” example. In that instance, several high-ranking elected officials refused to even meet with the company. Two-thirds of New Yorkers agree that the loss of Amazon, its projected 25,000 jobs, and its tens of billions of dollars in expected tax revenues is bad for our city.</p> <p>Now there’s another issue that is playing out in a similar way.</p> <p>The state currently allows restaurants in New York City to pay waiters $10 per hour, so long as tips ensure that the employee is earning at least the minimum wage (now $15 per hour) at the end of the day.&nbsp;It’s called the “tip credit,” and it enables restaurants – which often have notoriously low profit margins – to reduce their labor costs. Surveys show that tipped workers end up earning $25 per hour, on average, when tips are included.&nbsp;Some make even more.</p> <p>The issue should be a no-brainer. Indeed, the vast majority of restaurant owners and their wait staffs want to maintain the current system. (When Maine phased out its tip credit in 2016, thousands of servers led the successful fight to restore it because their paychecks were diminishing.) But a well-funded contingent of celebrities and misinformed activists are trying to drown out these voices in order to eliminate the credit in New York – and sadly, it seems to be working.</p> <p>Some elected officials are repeating inflammatory talking points, namely that waiters are somehow not earning the minimum wage under this system. That would be of paramount concern to me, as well, were it not absolutely false. Yet no one seems to be listening to the facts, so unwilling they are to believe that employers and their employees could actually be on the same side of an issue.</p> <p>New York City loses when policy debates adhere to this ‘business versus anti-business’ divide, particularly when the business side is assumed to be biased and dismissed as a result. I am certainly not advocating for pay-to-play politics, which is unethical, illegal, and at odds with the development of smart public policy. We need robust, thoughtful solutions that will move New York forward, remembering that we all believe in a better, stronger city for the future.</p> <p>This requires public servants to engage with all parties and then make determinations based on all of these points of view. If we don’t maintain that balance, and base decisions on facts and impartial analysis, poorly-informed public policies will increase – and New York City will be worse for it.</p> <p>***<br />Jessica Walker is President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jessinharlem" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@jessinharlem</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/ManhattanCofC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@ManhattanCofC</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
What's The [Data] Point? 5, with former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen 2019-03-26T04:00:00+00:00 2019-03-26T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 69</strong><strong> -- 5, with former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen </strong><em>[You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/wtdp-alica-glen-deputy-mayor.jpg" alt="wtdp alica glen deputy mayor" width="185" height="123" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Alicia Glen was Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development under Mayor Bill de Blasio for more than five years, until she recently left the administration after being the chief architect of its signature affordable housing plan, a broad variety of economic development initiatives, and more. Glen joined the podcast (for the second time) for an "exit interview" on her legacy as deputy mayor, key issues facing the city and where the city is headed, the city's overall economic competitiveness, the Amazon deal that was undone, NYCHA, whether she would ever run for elected office herself, and other topics.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/595635858%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Nbc80&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 69</strong><strong> -- 5, with former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen </strong><em>[You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/wtdp-alica-glen-deputy-mayor.jpg" alt="wtdp alica glen deputy mayor" width="185" height="123" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Alicia Glen was Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development under Mayor Bill de Blasio for more than five years, until she recently left the administration after being the chief architect of its signature affordable housing plan, a broad variety of economic development initiatives, and more. Glen joined the podcast (for the second time) for an "exit interview" on her legacy as deputy mayor, key issues facing the city and where the city is headed, the city's overall economic competitiveness, the Amazon deal that was undone, NYCHA, whether she would ever run for elected office herself, and other topics.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/595635858%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Nbc80&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
City Council Examines De Blasio's 'New York Works,' Said to Have Produced 3,000 Jobs of 100,000 Goal 2019-03-18T04:00:00+00:00 2019-03-18T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8368-city-council-examines-de-blasio-s-new-york-works-said-to-have-produced-3-000-jobs-of-100-000-goal Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/47414747151_33076d8a07_z.jpg" alt="Patchett EDC hearing" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>EDC President James Patchett (photo:&nbsp;John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to create 100,000 “good-paying” jobs, with annual salaries of $50,000 or more, within 10 years, giving New Yorkers a pathway to the middle class. On Monday, City Council members held an oversight hearing on that plan, attempting to more fully gauge how the de Blasio administration is doing on its promise.</p> <p>Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigation, co-led a tense Council hearing where the head of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), James Patchett, was grilled about how many jobs had been created as part of de Blasio’s jobs plan and who has been getting them.</p> <p>“Anyone who heard the mayor’s [2017] State of the City would believe there are actual jobs,” said Torres, “but anyone who believes that is operating under a false assumption.”</p> <p>Patchett responded to Torres’s rapid-fire questioning about unclear jobs numbers with a consistent message: answering a simple question like “how many jobs have been created” is not so easy.</p> <p>De Blasio declared good-paying jobs to be those that pay $50,000 or more, and said those in his plan would be in economic sectors that will be around for years to come. When de Blasio, Patchett, and then-Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen laid out the plan a few months after de Blasio announced the goal during his 2017 State of the City speech, they said that they would only count jobs spurred by some kind of city action.</p> <p>On Monday, Patchett said jobs are only counted towards the mayor’s 100,000 goal if they are created as a direct result of the five-point strategy laid out in the jobs plan, known as “New York Works.”</p> <p>The plan focuses on investing in city-owned property, providing tax incentives to small and large businesses, making infrastructure investments, using zoning tools, and directly investing in companies that can bring 21st century jobs to New York City.</p> <p>About $1.3 billion in capital funding has been allocated to New York Works, with about $300 million already spent, Patchett said, on projects like the Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the FutureWorks advanced manufacturing shop at Brooklyn Army Terminal.</p> <p>But even with specific strategies and budget numbers, there still remains a fair amount of estimation in gauging the impact of the plan.</p> <p>At one particularly tense point in Monday’s hearing, Patchett was asked about the 2018 New York Works progress report, where EDC reported the city had “laid the foundation for 19,000 good paying jobs.”</p> <p>“Of the 19,000, how many are actually working today?” asked Torres.</p> <p>“3,000,” replied Patchett.</p> <p>“We make projections based on the best available data,” said Patchett, explaining that in some scenarios, when EDC completes a project under the New York Works plan, actual jobs are still yet to come.</p> <p>The economic development agency tries its best to project how many jobs will be created based on the expertise of their in-house economists, detailed economic data, and, in some cases, specific contracts that have been signed.</p> <p>A recent example can be found in the Staten Island Teleport Campus.</p> <p>In 2018, EDC reported in the New York Works progress report that it had “closed a deal” to create office space on the Staten Island campus meant for medical tenants, a charter school, adult education programs, and a variety of social ventures. Though no businesses had formally moved in, the agency estimated 750 jobs would be created and counted that towards de Blasio’s goal.</p> <p>In the same report, EDC also noted the city “opened 500,000 square feet of space” at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, creating 1,000 good-paying jobs towards the mayor’s 100,000 jobs goal. It is unclear whether these jobs have actually been created or are still a projection, according documents published by the Council.</p> <p>Patchett also confirmed that if out-of-state residents were to get a good-paying job created under de Blasio’s jobs plan, it would count towards the mayor’s goal.</p> <p>When de Blasio announced the New York Works jobs plan in June 2017, he said the good-paying jobs would be meant primarily for New Yorkers who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have access to such opportunities.</p> <p>“These are jobs that we intend to be open to New Yorkers of every background,” he said at the time, “we can’t address the affordability crisis if we don’t turn the city into a place where more and more good people get a good paying job.”</p> <p>But for City Council members that represent the city’s lowest-income residents, there are persistent concerns whether these good-paying jobs end up accessible to people in their districts.</p> <p>Brooklyn Democrat Inez Barron, who represents the 42nd Council District where more than 30% of residents are under the poverty line according to census data, wanted to know why most of the $1.3 billion allocated to New York Works is for building and development projects rather than programs that could help train residents to actually qualify for the good-paying jobs de Blasio’s plan sets out to create.</p> <p>Patchett mentioned that workforce development strategy is outside the purview of EDC, but he reassured the Council member that the agency works closely with higher education institutions such as LaGuardia Community College and other CUNY schools, along with the New York City Department of Education to inform them of what they think the skills of the future are that educational institutions should be aware of when creating training programs.</p> <p>Monday’s hearing was also co-led by Queens Council Member Paul Vallone, chair of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development. Vallone left the hearing unimpressed.</p> <p>“We just had a hearing on the progress of a jobs plan that revealed that there is no conclusive data on the jobs created by that plan,” Vallone said in a statement. “How can we rely on projections and job pathways when there is no tracking to ensure that they actually materialize into real jobs for New Yorkers?”</p> <p>Near the end of the hearing, tensions between Torres and Patchett simmered down a bit, with Patchett offering a solution to Torres’ contention around confusing jobs numbers.</p> <p>“I will try to provide not just projections,” Patchett said, “but an estimate as to actual jobs created based on the best data available.”</p> <p>Torres responded with the crux of his complaint: “If my constituents ask me how many jobs are created by that plan, I want to be able to answer that question.”</p> <p>***<br />by Pranshu Verma for Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/47414747151_33076d8a07_z.jpg" alt="Patchett EDC hearing" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>EDC President James Patchett (photo:&nbsp;John McCarten/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to create 100,000 “good-paying” jobs, with annual salaries of $50,000 or more, within 10 years, giving New Yorkers a pathway to the middle class. On Monday, City Council members held an oversight hearing on that plan, attempting to more fully gauge how the de Blasio administration is doing on its promise.</p> <p>Bronx Council Member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigation, co-led a tense Council hearing where the head of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), James Patchett, was grilled about how many jobs had been created as part of de Blasio’s jobs plan and who has been getting them.</p> <p>“Anyone who heard the mayor’s [2017] State of the City would believe there are actual jobs,” said Torres, “but anyone who believes that is operating under a false assumption.”</p> <p>Patchett responded to Torres’s rapid-fire questioning about unclear jobs numbers with a consistent message: answering a simple question like “how many jobs have been created” is not so easy.</p> <p>De Blasio declared good-paying jobs to be those that pay $50,000 or more, and said those in his plan would be in economic sectors that will be around for years to come. When de Blasio, Patchett, and then-Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen laid out the plan a few months after de Blasio announced the goal during his 2017 State of the City speech, they said that they would only count jobs spurred by some kind of city action.</p> <p>On Monday, Patchett said jobs are only counted towards the mayor’s 100,000 goal if they are created as a direct result of the five-point strategy laid out in the jobs plan, known as “New York Works.”</p> <p>The plan focuses on investing in city-owned property, providing tax incentives to small and large businesses, making infrastructure investments, using zoning tools, and directly investing in companies that can bring 21st century jobs to New York City.</p> <p>About $1.3 billion in capital funding has been allocated to New York Works, with about $300 million already spent, Patchett said, on projects like the Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the FutureWorks advanced manufacturing shop at Brooklyn Army Terminal.</p> <p>But even with specific strategies and budget numbers, there still remains a fair amount of estimation in gauging the impact of the plan.</p> <p>At one particularly tense point in Monday’s hearing, Patchett was asked about the 2018 New York Works progress report, where EDC reported the city had “laid the foundation for 19,000 good paying jobs.”</p> <p>“Of the 19,000, how many are actually working today?” asked Torres.</p> <p>“3,000,” replied Patchett.</p> <p>“We make projections based on the best available data,” said Patchett, explaining that in some scenarios, when EDC completes a project under the New York Works plan, actual jobs are still yet to come.</p> <p>The economic development agency tries its best to project how many jobs will be created based on the expertise of their in-house economists, detailed economic data, and, in some cases, specific contracts that have been signed.</p> <p>A recent example can be found in the Staten Island Teleport Campus.</p> <p>In 2018, EDC reported in the New York Works progress report that it had “closed a deal” to create office space on the Staten Island campus meant for medical tenants, a charter school, adult education programs, and a variety of social ventures. Though no businesses had formally moved in, the agency estimated 750 jobs would be created and counted that towards de Blasio’s goal.</p> <p>In the same report, EDC also noted the city “opened 500,000 square feet of space” at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, creating 1,000 good-paying jobs towards the mayor’s 100,000 jobs goal. It is unclear whether these jobs have actually been created or are still a projection, according documents published by the Council.</p> <p>Patchett also confirmed that if out-of-state residents were to get a good-paying job created under de Blasio’s jobs plan, it would count towards the mayor’s goal.</p> <p>When de Blasio announced the New York Works jobs plan in June 2017, he said the good-paying jobs would be meant primarily for New Yorkers who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have access to such opportunities.</p> <p>“These are jobs that we intend to be open to New Yorkers of every background,” he said at the time, “we can’t address the affordability crisis if we don’t turn the city into a place where more and more good people get a good paying job.”</p> <p>But for City Council members that represent the city’s lowest-income residents, there are persistent concerns whether these good-paying jobs end up accessible to people in their districts.</p> <p>Brooklyn Democrat Inez Barron, who represents the 42nd Council District where more than 30% of residents are under the poverty line according to census data, wanted to know why most of the $1.3 billion allocated to New York Works is for building and development projects rather than programs that could help train residents to actually qualify for the good-paying jobs de Blasio’s plan sets out to create.</p> <p>Patchett mentioned that workforce development strategy is outside the purview of EDC, but he reassured the Council member that the agency works closely with higher education institutions such as LaGuardia Community College and other CUNY schools, along with the New York City Department of Education to inform them of what they think the skills of the future are that educational institutions should be aware of when creating training programs.</p> <p>Monday’s hearing was also co-led by Queens Council Member Paul Vallone, chair of the Council’s Committee on Economic Development. Vallone left the hearing unimpressed.</p> <p>“We just had a hearing on the progress of a jobs plan that revealed that there is no conclusive data on the jobs created by that plan,” Vallone said in a statement. “How can we rely on projections and job pathways when there is no tracking to ensure that they actually materialize into real jobs for New Yorkers?”</p> <p>Near the end of the hearing, tensions between Torres and Patchett simmered down a bit, with Patchett offering a solution to Torres’ contention around confusing jobs numbers.</p> <p>“I will try to provide not just projections,” Patchett said, “but an estimate as to actual jobs created based on the best data available.”</p> <p>Torres responded with the crux of his complaint: “If my constituents ask me how many jobs are created by that plan, I want to be able to answer that question.”</p> <p>***<br />by Pranshu Verma for Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@GothamGazette</a></p> One Way to Keep Good, Middle-Class Jobs in New York 2019-03-11T04:00:00+00:00 2019-03-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8335-one-way-to-keep-good-middle-class-jobs-in-new-york Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/wikimedia-call-center.jpg" alt="wikimedia call center" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(photo: Wikimedia Commons)</p> <hr /> <p>Long gone are the days when a family could live comfortably with a minimum wage job. In 1968, a worker making the federal minimum wage could support a partner and a child <a href="https://www.epi.org/publication/minimum-wage-workers-poverty-anymore-raising/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">above the poverty line</a>. Today, you can’t even support yourself and a child on it. Even with the recent increase to the minimum wage, hitting $15 an hour in New York City, it’s impossible for families in many parts of the state to live on minimum wage.</p> <p>Economic anxiety has unfortunately become the new norm. Traditionally, most families’ golden ticket out of poverty was a solidly middle-class job, like at a call center. Those jobs, however, are increasingly being lost to corporate greed.</p> <p>Since 2006, over 40,000 call center jobs were lost in New York. Forty thousand.</p> <p>That means 40,000 families have had to face the emotional and financial stress of losing a job. It’s not as though the need for call center jobs has decreased; the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% growth rate for customer service representative jobs between 2016 and 2026.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there has been an upward trend of massive corporations looking to ship these jobs elsewhere so they can pay workers less and often find better tax incentives. Outsourcing work to other parts of the country or abroad has become a common corporate tactic to reduce costs. Middle class jobs are replaced with cheaper labor (often with subpar working conditions).</p> <p>With the Trump administration’s tax cuts last year, outsourcing has become even more attractive to corporations, accelerating the process. The law rewards corporations with tax cuts and incentives for profits made overseas, with corporations paying as little as half or less of the corporate tax rate on profits earned abroad as they would here at home.</p> <p>This is why I support the New York State Call Center Jobs Act, a bill that would finally prevent companies from being rewarded for outsourcing these good jobs elsewhere.</p> <p>In January, AT&amp;T announced it was closing a call center in Syracuse, eliminating 150 jobs. The workers in the call center had just two weeks to decide whether to accept a severance package or relocate.</p> <p>Call center jobs are critical lifelines to sustain a robust middle class and it’s important we recognize that moving these jobs out of state has devastated families and communities across New York. We can no longer allow corporations to line their own pockets at the expense of hard-working New Yorkers.</p> <p>This bill would help New York protect call center jobs at employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. Employers would be required to notify the Public Service Commission if they intend to relocate at least 30% of call volume in a year. Those companies would lose all grants, loans, tax benefits, and state contracts, since our government should not be giving tax dollars to companies that are leaving the state. It would also ensure that all call center work related to state business is performed by New York companies.</p> <p>This legislation passed last year in the Assembly and had considerable support in the Senate. Now that the Senate leadership has changed, we can and should get this done this year. I urge my fellow legislators to do what is right and protect New York’s middle class.</p> <p>***<br /> Senator Jessica Ramos represents State District 13, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and parts of Astoria and Woodside. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jessicaramos" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@JessicaRamos</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/wikimedia-call-center.jpg" alt="wikimedia call center" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(photo: Wikimedia Commons)</p> <hr /> <p>Long gone are the days when a family could live comfortably with a minimum wage job. In 1968, a worker making the federal minimum wage could support a partner and a child <a href="https://www.epi.org/publication/minimum-wage-workers-poverty-anymore-raising/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">above the poverty line</a>. Today, you can’t even support yourself and a child on it. Even with the recent increase to the minimum wage, hitting $15 an hour in New York City, it’s impossible for families in many parts of the state to live on minimum wage.</p> <p>Economic anxiety has unfortunately become the new norm. Traditionally, most families’ golden ticket out of poverty was a solidly middle-class job, like at a call center. Those jobs, however, are increasingly being lost to corporate greed.</p> <p>Since 2006, over 40,000 call center jobs were lost in New York. Forty thousand.</p> <p>That means 40,000 families have had to face the emotional and financial stress of losing a job. It’s not as though the need for call center jobs has decreased; the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% growth rate for customer service representative jobs between 2016 and 2026.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there has been an upward trend of massive corporations looking to ship these jobs elsewhere so they can pay workers less and often find better tax incentives. Outsourcing work to other parts of the country or abroad has become a common corporate tactic to reduce costs. Middle class jobs are replaced with cheaper labor (often with subpar working conditions).</p> <p>With the Trump administration’s tax cuts last year, outsourcing has become even more attractive to corporations, accelerating the process. The law rewards corporations with tax cuts and incentives for profits made overseas, with corporations paying as little as half or less of the corporate tax rate on profits earned abroad as they would here at home.</p> <p>This is why I support the New York State Call Center Jobs Act, a bill that would finally prevent companies from being rewarded for outsourcing these good jobs elsewhere.</p> <p>In January, AT&amp;T announced it was closing a call center in Syracuse, eliminating 150 jobs. The workers in the call center had just two weeks to decide whether to accept a severance package or relocate.</p> <p>Call center jobs are critical lifelines to sustain a robust middle class and it’s important we recognize that moving these jobs out of state has devastated families and communities across New York. We can no longer allow corporations to line their own pockets at the expense of hard-working New Yorkers.</p> <p>This bill would help New York protect call center jobs at employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. Employers would be required to notify the Public Service Commission if they intend to relocate at least 30% of call volume in a year. Those companies would lose all grants, loans, tax benefits, and state contracts, since our government should not be giving tax dollars to companies that are leaving the state. It would also ensure that all call center work related to state business is performed by New York companies.</p> <p>This legislation passed last year in the Assembly and had considerable support in the Senate. Now that the Senate leadership has changed, we can and should get this done this year. I urge my fellow legislators to do what is right and protect New York’s middle class.</p> <p>***<br /> Senator Jessica Ramos represents State District 13, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and parts of Astoria and Woodside. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jessicaramos" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@JessicaRamos</a>.</p> <p>

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Amazon Was Never Going to Create 25,000 Jobs in Queens 2019-03-05T05:00:00+00:00 2019-03-05T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8327-amazon-was-never-going-to-create-25-000-jobs-in-queens Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/gov-mayor-lic.jpg" alt="gov mayor lic" width="600" height="327" /></p> <p>(photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Now that Governor Amazon Cuomo is <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/nyregion/amazon-hq2-nyc.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">grovelling for Amazon</a> to come back to New York, it’s important to remember that the original sin of the “HQ2” deal is still true: Amazon was never going to bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island City.</p> <p>That might surprise people, particularly since that number and its related economic activity have been the central arguments used to defend the deal. But to be clear, Amazon never actually promised to bring 25,000 jobs. Period. <a href="https://d39w7f4ix9f5s9.cloudfront.net/4d/db/a54a9d6c4312bb171598d0b2134c/new-york-agreement.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Go look for it. </a></p> <p>Supporters point out that Amazon would get the full package of tax incentives, which are available to any company, only if it created the 25,000 jobs. That's absolutely true, but it proves the point. It shows that Amazon didn't need or really want the job incentives. Instead, it played off our failed economic development policies to get what it actually wanted.</p> <p>What Amazon did care about, what it wanted more than anything, and what it would have gotten in the deal was a shiny new East River campus quickly, quietly, and cheaply.</p> <p>First, Amazon didn't want to engage with the community or be a good neighbor. All of this would have taken a lot of time, but the real issue was that it would have involved making promises to the community that Amazon had no intention of ever making. The minimal promises it did make were entirely on its terms (and changed only slightly after pushback before Amazon finally walked).</p> <p>Second, Amazon didn't want to pay the full cost of acquiring the choice land that it wanted to build its campus or go through the city’s land use review process (ULURP). That would have involved stringing together multiple lots at fair market value and convincing the city to sell public land. That would have meant more engagement with the public (and the City Council) and more commitments.</p> <p>Third, Amazon knew it had to hire union labor for constructing and servicing the campus, but didn’t want to pay for it. More importantly, it didn’t want that to be a backdoor to unionizing its own larger workforce, especially in distribution centers. As much as some supporters have pointed to the construction and building-service jobs as evidence that Amazon was willing to work with unions, it was a political necessity to do so and had the added bonus of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/22/business/economy/labor-unions-amazon.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">splitting the labor movement</a> in New York. Amazon was never going to allow unionization in its Staten Island or other distribution centers as part of the deal.</p> <p>By “promising” 25,000 jobs, Amazon got everything it wanted in the Memorandum of Understanding with the city and the state. It bypassed the City Council and real public review when the governor deemed “HQ2” a <a href="http://gothamist.com/2018/11/13/amazon_queens_nyc_subsidies.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">General Project Plan</a>. It got its riverside campus when the mayor effectively turned over public land on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8132-the-fuzzy-fine-print-of-amazon-s-queens-real-estate-deal" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a sweetheart lease</a> (unquestionably saving Amazon hundreds of millions of dollars that weren’t and haven’t been included in the cost of incentives) while also killing a private development that included affordable housing and was going through the proper land-use channels. And Amazon got a flat out cash transfer of <a href="http://gothamist.com/2018/11/13/amazon_queens_nyc_subsidies.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$325 million</a> (with a possibility of up to $500 million) to cover costs of using union labor on construction.</p> <p>Still, Amazon never had to deliver the jobs. To be sure, it was going to have a large workforce in Long Island City by consolidating several thousand employees <a href="https://blog.aboutamazon.com/company-news/update-on-plans-for-new-york-city-headquarters" target="_blank" rel="noopener">already in New York</a> and transferring more from Seattle. There is also no doubt that it would have hired some new employees locally. But there were no real promises of how many, at what salary, or from what communities. That just means we were going to give a competitive edge to Amazon by subsidizing an abstract total of jobs at a time when <a href="https://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/nyc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">job growth is fine</a> in the city.</p> <p>As we've seen with <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/29/18027032/foxconn-wisconsin-plant-jobs-deal-subsidy-governor-scott-walker" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Foxconn</a> in Wisconsin, <a href="https://www.courant.com/business/hc-boston-ge-moving-20160113-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">General Electric</a> in Massachusetts, and just about <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/07/15/cuomos-10b-economy-boost-results-in-broken-promises/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">every development project </a>Governor Cuomo has produced (and his Economic Development Corporation has justified), the promised jobs and economic activity from these incentives rarely materialize, whether the companies get all of them or not. However, the public is always on the hook and companies almost never are.</p> <p>Amazon exploits these policies all the time with its distribution centers (see <a href="https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/consumer/os-amazon-incentives-warehouse-20170601-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Florida</a>, <a href="https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/retail/article/Tax-incentives-get-Amazon-to-build-fulfillment-11037679.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Texas</a>, <a href="https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article153979624.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">California</a>). They promise direct and indirect job creation that <a href="https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4402413/EPI-Amazon-Jobs.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">never happens</a>. Amazon knew it wasn’t going to deliver 25,000 jobs and would never be held accountable for failing to. Amazon wanted its New York campus and simply took the flawed logic of our economic development policies to their extreme to get it.</p> <p>Let’s not forget the bad faith Amazon showed when it originally announced the "contest" in September 2017. Remember, back then it wasn’t for 25,000 jobs -- it was for <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-headquarters/amazon-opens-bidding-to-cities-for-5-billion-hq2-a-second-headquarters-idUSKCN1BI1DM" target="_blank" rel="noopener">50,000 jobs</a>. Amazon and the media moved on quickly from that bait and switch, but we shouldn’t.</p> <p>Amazon prides itself on being data-driven and strategic (yet: <a href="https://www.wired.com/2015/01/amazon-fire-phone-always-going-fail/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">counterpoint</a>), which means it’s safe to assume that the D.C. area and New York City had already been selected - making the whole idea of a “second headquarters” bogus from the beginning.</p> <p>But why not announce a “contest” saying you’re going to create 50,000 jobs and have every city and state fall over themselves to compete for it? Amazon got a year’s worth of free advertising. It got reams of data from cities for future expansion and whatever else it may attempt. It forced New York and Virginia to offer billions for something it was already going to do and could easily afford.</p> <p>Most importantly, Amazon got New York and Virgina to turn over land for campuses quickly and with no public review.</p> <p>Back in December, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8159-why-the-amazon-deal-is-in-trouble" target="_blank" rel="noopener">I wrote</a> about how I thought the Amazon deal was in trouble. Then, as now, it was clear that the deal was negotiated in bad faith from the beginning, that it would not actually do what the mayor, the governor, and Amazon said it would do, and it would not hold Amazon accountable for when it inevitably failed to live up to its vague end of the bargain. That is all still true.</p> <p>Amazon is incapable of being a good partner. Everybody knows that now. Everybody knows how it treats <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-warehouse-workers-share-their-horror-stories-2018-4" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its workers</a>, its <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amazon-holding-seattle-hostage_us_5af5ba76e4b032b10bfa4285" target="_blank" rel="noopener">home city</a>, and who it does <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/23/amazon-met-with-ice-officials-over-facial-recognition-system-that-could-identify-immigrants" target="_blank" rel="noopener">business for</a>. If it really needed a home for 25,000 jobs in New York City, it would have negotiated in good faith and worked through the concerns of the community it was moving into.</p> <p>Instead, it wanted an insulated campus apart from the community paid for by the community, and bailed when it wasn’t served on a platter. Activists and a few steadfast local politicians accomplished a great public service by showing the real face of Amazon. &nbsp;</p> <p>More importantly, the “HQ2” ordeal shows the fatal flaws in our economic development policies that Amazon so cleverly exploited. Taxpayers spend <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/report_examining-the-local-value-of-economic-development-incentives_brookings-metro_march-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$90 billion</a> a year pitting cities against each other for unsubstantiated job numbers, which only works out for corporations and their shareholders.</p> <p>This is done instead of solving the cities’ actual problems like the lack of affordable housing, overcrowded schools, a crumbling transportation system, and skyrocketing child- and health-care costs. It goes without saying that investing in this public infrastructure would also lead to new, bottom-up job creation -- many more than 25,000 -- for all kinds of New Yorkers, new residents, and new businesses.</p> <p>As his recent grovelling has proven, Governor Amazon Cuomo has been guilty of this more than anyone. He values the optics of a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the East River with Jeff Bezos over the hard work that it takes to create actual jobs. Let’s hope Amazon’s bad faith trumps the governor’s and they stay gone.</p> <p>***<br /> Peter Harrison is a member of NYC-DSA and CEO/Co-founder of <a href="https://joinhomebody.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">homeBody</a>, a public benefit startup. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/PeteHarrisonNYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@PeteHarrisonNYC</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/gov-mayor-lic.jpg" alt="gov mayor lic" width="600" height="327" /></p> <p>(photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)</p> <hr /> <p>Now that Governor Amazon Cuomo is <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/nyregion/amazon-hq2-nyc.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">grovelling for Amazon</a> to come back to New York, it’s important to remember that the original sin of the “HQ2” deal is still true: Amazon was never going to bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island City.</p> <p>That might surprise people, particularly since that number and its related economic activity have been the central arguments used to defend the deal. But to be clear, Amazon never actually promised to bring 25,000 jobs. Period. <a href="https://d39w7f4ix9f5s9.cloudfront.net/4d/db/a54a9d6c4312bb171598d0b2134c/new-york-agreement.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Go look for it. </a></p> <p>Supporters point out that Amazon would get the full package of tax incentives, which are available to any company, only if it created the 25,000 jobs. That's absolutely true, but it proves the point. It shows that Amazon didn't need or really want the job incentives. Instead, it played off our failed economic development policies to get what it actually wanted.</p> <p>What Amazon did care about, what it wanted more than anything, and what it would have gotten in the deal was a shiny new East River campus quickly, quietly, and cheaply.</p> <p>First, Amazon didn't want to engage with the community or be a good neighbor. All of this would have taken a lot of time, but the real issue was that it would have involved making promises to the community that Amazon had no intention of ever making. The minimal promises it did make were entirely on its terms (and changed only slightly after pushback before Amazon finally walked).</p> <p>Second, Amazon didn't want to pay the full cost of acquiring the choice land that it wanted to build its campus or go through the city’s land use review process (ULURP). That would have involved stringing together multiple lots at fair market value and convincing the city to sell public land. That would have meant more engagement with the public (and the City Council) and more commitments.</p> <p>Third, Amazon knew it had to hire union labor for constructing and servicing the campus, but didn’t want to pay for it. More importantly, it didn’t want that to be a backdoor to unionizing its own larger workforce, especially in distribution centers. As much as some supporters have pointed to the construction and building-service jobs as evidence that Amazon was willing to work with unions, it was a political necessity to do so and had the added bonus of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/22/business/economy/labor-unions-amazon.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">splitting the labor movement</a> in New York. Amazon was never going to allow unionization in its Staten Island or other distribution centers as part of the deal.</p> <p>By “promising” 25,000 jobs, Amazon got everything it wanted in the Memorandum of Understanding with the city and the state. It bypassed the City Council and real public review when the governor deemed “HQ2” a <a href="http://gothamist.com/2018/11/13/amazon_queens_nyc_subsidies.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">General Project Plan</a>. It got its riverside campus when the mayor effectively turned over public land on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8132-the-fuzzy-fine-print-of-amazon-s-queens-real-estate-deal" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a sweetheart lease</a> (unquestionably saving Amazon hundreds of millions of dollars that weren’t and haven’t been included in the cost of incentives) while also killing a private development that included affordable housing and was going through the proper land-use channels. And Amazon got a flat out cash transfer of <a href="http://gothamist.com/2018/11/13/amazon_queens_nyc_subsidies.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$325 million</a> (with a possibility of up to $500 million) to cover costs of using union labor on construction.</p> <p>Still, Amazon never had to deliver the jobs. To be sure, it was going to have a large workforce in Long Island City by consolidating several thousand employees <a href="https://blog.aboutamazon.com/company-news/update-on-plans-for-new-york-city-headquarters" target="_blank" rel="noopener">already in New York</a> and transferring more from Seattle. There is also no doubt that it would have hired some new employees locally. But there were no real promises of how many, at what salary, or from what communities. That just means we were going to give a competitive edge to Amazon by subsidizing an abstract total of jobs at a time when <a href="https://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/nyc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">job growth is fine</a> in the city.</p> <p>As we've seen with <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/29/18027032/foxconn-wisconsin-plant-jobs-deal-subsidy-governor-scott-walker" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Foxconn</a> in Wisconsin, <a href="https://www.courant.com/business/hc-boston-ge-moving-20160113-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">General Electric</a> in Massachusetts, and just about <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/07/15/cuomos-10b-economy-boost-results-in-broken-promises/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">every development project </a>Governor Cuomo has produced (and his Economic Development Corporation has justified), the promised jobs and economic activity from these incentives rarely materialize, whether the companies get all of them or not. However, the public is always on the hook and companies almost never are.</p> <p>Amazon exploits these policies all the time with its distribution centers (see <a href="https://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/consumer/os-amazon-incentives-warehouse-20170601-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Florida</a>, <a href="https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/retail/article/Tax-incentives-get-Amazon-to-build-fulfillment-11037679.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Texas</a>, <a href="https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article153979624.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">California</a>). They promise direct and indirect job creation that <a href="https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4402413/EPI-Amazon-Jobs.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">never happens</a>. Amazon knew it wasn’t going to deliver 25,000 jobs and would never be held accountable for failing to. Amazon wanted its New York campus and simply took the flawed logic of our economic development policies to their extreme to get it.</p> <p>Let’s not forget the bad faith Amazon showed when it originally announced the "contest" in September 2017. Remember, back then it wasn’t for 25,000 jobs -- it was for <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-headquarters/amazon-opens-bidding-to-cities-for-5-billion-hq2-a-second-headquarters-idUSKCN1BI1DM" target="_blank" rel="noopener">50,000 jobs</a>. Amazon and the media moved on quickly from that bait and switch, but we shouldn’t.</p> <p>Amazon prides itself on being data-driven and strategic (yet: <a href="https://www.wired.com/2015/01/amazon-fire-phone-always-going-fail/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">counterpoint</a>), which means it’s safe to assume that the D.C. area and New York City had already been selected - making the whole idea of a “second headquarters” bogus from the beginning.</p> <p>But why not announce a “contest” saying you’re going to create 50,000 jobs and have every city and state fall over themselves to compete for it? Amazon got a year’s worth of free advertising. It got reams of data from cities for future expansion and whatever else it may attempt. It forced New York and Virginia to offer billions for something it was already going to do and could easily afford.</p> <p>Most importantly, Amazon got New York and Virgina to turn over land for campuses quickly and with no public review.</p> <p>Back in December, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8159-why-the-amazon-deal-is-in-trouble" target="_blank" rel="noopener">I wrote</a> about how I thought the Amazon deal was in trouble. Then, as now, it was clear that the deal was negotiated in bad faith from the beginning, that it would not actually do what the mayor, the governor, and Amazon said it would do, and it would not hold Amazon accountable for when it inevitably failed to live up to its vague end of the bargain. That is all still true.</p> <p>Amazon is incapable of being a good partner. Everybody knows that now. Everybody knows how it treats <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-warehouse-workers-share-their-horror-stories-2018-4" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its workers</a>, its <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amazon-holding-seattle-hostage_us_5af5ba76e4b032b10bfa4285" target="_blank" rel="noopener">home city</a>, and who it does <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/23/amazon-met-with-ice-officials-over-facial-recognition-system-that-could-identify-immigrants" target="_blank" rel="noopener">business for</a>. If it really needed a home for 25,000 jobs in New York City, it would have negotiated in good faith and worked through the concerns of the community it was moving into.</p> <p>Instead, it wanted an insulated campus apart from the community paid for by the community, and bailed when it wasn’t served on a platter. Activists and a few steadfast local politicians accomplished a great public service by showing the real face of Amazon. &nbsp;</p> <p>More importantly, the “HQ2” ordeal shows the fatal flaws in our economic development policies that Amazon so cleverly exploited. Taxpayers spend <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/report_examining-the-local-value-of-economic-development-incentives_brookings-metro_march-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">$90 billion</a> a year pitting cities against each other for unsubstantiated job numbers, which only works out for corporations and their shareholders.</p> <p>This is done instead of solving the cities’ actual problems like the lack of affordable housing, overcrowded schools, a crumbling transportation system, and skyrocketing child- and health-care costs. It goes without saying that investing in this public infrastructure would also lead to new, bottom-up job creation -- many more than 25,000 -- for all kinds of New Yorkers, new residents, and new businesses.</p> <p>As his recent grovelling has proven, Governor Amazon Cuomo has been guilty of this more than anyone. He values the optics of a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the East River with Jeff Bezos over the hard work that it takes to create actual jobs. Let’s hope Amazon’s bad faith trumps the governor’s and they stay gone.</p> <p>***<br /> Peter Harrison is a member of NYC-DSA and CEO/Co-founder of <a href="https://joinhomebody.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">homeBody</a>, a public benefit startup. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/PeteHarrisonNYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@PeteHarrisonNYC</a>.</p> <p>

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After Amazon: Establishing Our Local Pipeline for Future Opportunities 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8301-after-amazon-establishing-our-local-pipeline-for-future-opportunities Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/general_lagcc-600.jpg" alt="general lagcc 600" width="600" height="240" /></p> <p>(photo: LaGuardia Community College, CUNY)</p> <hr /> <p>With Amazon’s pronouncement to put the brakes on its plan to bring part of its new headquarters to Long Island City, it’s time to make lemonade out of the many lemons left in the wake.</p> <p>Amazon’s decision to locate here centered on our city’s ability to get the company the talent it needs to grow. It’s what every company, large and small, needs to thrive.</p> <p>When Amazon first announced it was coming, one of the first questions raised was: who will benefit? Would the 25,000 jobs help our local community, including the residents of Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing complex, and LaGuardia Community College, where more than 70% of students come from households with incomes of less than $30,000? What kinds of jobs would be open to someone with just a high school diploma, an associate’s, a bachelor’s? Would it be New Yorkers who benefitted, or people recruited from elsewhere in the country and the world?</p> <p>In my engagement with City, State, and Amazon representatives, it became clear to me that New York (and conceivably many localities) needs a stronger, integrated system that links private and public spheres to educate future employees. Amazon’s proposed campus in Long Island City highlighted the need for that more robust, sustained development of talent pipelines in the fundamental field of tech, especially for people in low-income communities.</p> <p>The first step is more employers willing to establish long-term partnerships with local colleges and universities so there’s clear understanding of the technical, intellectual, and practical skills needed for job-openings. Without strong employer partnerships, we can’t be certain that our students will be job-ready upon graduation.</p> <p>We need more companies, especially tech companies, willing to invest in developing local talent by providing paid internships and mentorship opportunities for nontraditional and traditional students alike. We need more collaborations to create job-specific training programs, like one we <a href="http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2018/06/25/google-brings-it-support-professional-certificate-to-over-25-community-colleges-including-laguardia-community-college/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">have with Google</a> to provide training in IT support.</p> <p>Without far-reaching programs that connect students who are older, poor, or speak English less than well, tech employers will continue relying on the same private and elite-college networks for hiring.</p> <p>Fledgling progress was being made with Amazon to create pathways to jobs. At the end of January, Amazon announced a collaboration with LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and SUNY to create a program to train people (with at least a high school diploma) for jobs in cloud computing.</p> <p>But more than programs, public officials, employers, and educators must convene and nurture the building of an ecosystem that connects the many assets a community can use to establish a collaborative approach. If a community can encircle a potential employee with support and education, and companies can create bona fide paths to employment, there is no limit to the amount of social mobility and community vibrancy that can be created.</p> <p>LaGuardia Community College knows how well employer-education partnerships can work when it all comes together. Queens resident <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.linkedin.com_in_matt-2Doconnor-2D1bb713b1_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=Anb7M_yg0tKkXmHRad5yME9JGXbnG92oNjUDdKxgTtI&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Matt O’Connor</a> was working full-time packing boxes at a nearby delivery service when he came to LaGuardia to channel his passion for coding. He was offered internship opportunities that grounded his classroom work. Matt first interned at the tech accelerator <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.eranyc.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=NkbUv0I_agZiIAK3mIMMeFRd2QM-QUwHNFpP3lCfjZg&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator</a>, where he worked with small tech start-ups. His next paid software development internship was at <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__pixelplace.io_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=wIHr8DxXgXXV8uEnvh5t2uoKgMJq1SrWgC4XtHCw1-0&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Place Pixel</a>, a company that creates next-generation mapping experiences. It went so well that he was offered a full-time job with an equity share in the company. Matt said it felt miraculous when he was able to quit the package delivery company. Today, he’s a full-time software engineer at the company <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__go.sevenfifty.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=iwKTvhwRhik3HJN-GWORZLa2VBRY4XMqyFh2tn00-AU&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SevenFifty</a>.</p> <p>But with better and more targeted resources, we can do even more. We need elected officials to step up and increase the investment in our public colleges: to give us the resources to re-imagine what and how we teach. We need to be able to hire and support full-time faculty who can effectively teach complex material, particularly to a diverse student body. We need the funding to support the collaboration across organizational silos. It’s not just the funding for expanding holistic support like child care, and philanthropy to support transportation, emergency funds, and an on-campus food pantry. It’s also dedicated funding to link the path from the housing projects to training, and from training to college.</p> <p>Over the coming weeks and months, there will be much analysis of what went right or wrong with the Amazon deal. No matter who declares victory, what Long Island City is left with does little for the low-income and aspiring New Yorkers who remain on the sidelines. Let’s not lose a moment in getting our talent prepared for whatever happens next, whether it’s the next Amazon wanting to locate here or the start-up just beginning to get launched.</p> <p>Whether you are cheering or bemoaning the crumbling of the agreement, we can all agree those who’ve been historically locked out of job opportunities in the fastest growing industries need more pathways to these good, steady jobs that enable them to provide for themselves and their families.</p> <p>***<br /> Gail O. Mellow is President of LaGuardia Community College. On Twitter <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__twitter.com_LaGuardiaCC&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=f4w7-3sqoaXDThK9XdUFY55Rrz0wEhE0So2Ihocoun8&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@LaGuardiaCC</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/general_lagcc-600.jpg" alt="general lagcc 600" width="600" height="240" /></p> <p>(photo: LaGuardia Community College, CUNY)</p> <hr /> <p>With Amazon’s pronouncement to put the brakes on its plan to bring part of its new headquarters to Long Island City, it’s time to make lemonade out of the many lemons left in the wake.</p> <p>Amazon’s decision to locate here centered on our city’s ability to get the company the talent it needs to grow. It’s what every company, large and small, needs to thrive.</p> <p>When Amazon first announced it was coming, one of the first questions raised was: who will benefit? Would the 25,000 jobs help our local community, including the residents of Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing complex, and LaGuardia Community College, where more than 70% of students come from households with incomes of less than $30,000? What kinds of jobs would be open to someone with just a high school diploma, an associate’s, a bachelor’s? Would it be New Yorkers who benefitted, or people recruited from elsewhere in the country and the world?</p> <p>In my engagement with City, State, and Amazon representatives, it became clear to me that New York (and conceivably many localities) needs a stronger, integrated system that links private and public spheres to educate future employees. Amazon’s proposed campus in Long Island City highlighted the need for that more robust, sustained development of talent pipelines in the fundamental field of tech, especially for people in low-income communities.</p> <p>The first step is more employers willing to establish long-term partnerships with local colleges and universities so there’s clear understanding of the technical, intellectual, and practical skills needed for job-openings. Without strong employer partnerships, we can’t be certain that our students will be job-ready upon graduation.</p> <p>We need more companies, especially tech companies, willing to invest in developing local talent by providing paid internships and mentorship opportunities for nontraditional and traditional students alike. We need more collaborations to create job-specific training programs, like one we <a href="http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2018/06/25/google-brings-it-support-professional-certificate-to-over-25-community-colleges-including-laguardia-community-college/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">have with Google</a> to provide training in IT support.</p> <p>Without far-reaching programs that connect students who are older, poor, or speak English less than well, tech employers will continue relying on the same private and elite-college networks for hiring.</p> <p>Fledgling progress was being made with Amazon to create pathways to jobs. At the end of January, Amazon announced a collaboration with LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and SUNY to create a program to train people (with at least a high school diploma) for jobs in cloud computing.</p> <p>But more than programs, public officials, employers, and educators must convene and nurture the building of an ecosystem that connects the many assets a community can use to establish a collaborative approach. If a community can encircle a potential employee with support and education, and companies can create bona fide paths to employment, there is no limit to the amount of social mobility and community vibrancy that can be created.</p> <p>LaGuardia Community College knows how well employer-education partnerships can work when it all comes together. Queens resident <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.linkedin.com_in_matt-2Doconnor-2D1bb713b1_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=Anb7M_yg0tKkXmHRad5yME9JGXbnG92oNjUDdKxgTtI&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Matt O’Connor</a> was working full-time packing boxes at a nearby delivery service when he came to LaGuardia to channel his passion for coding. He was offered internship opportunities that grounded his classroom work. Matt first interned at the tech accelerator <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.eranyc.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=NkbUv0I_agZiIAK3mIMMeFRd2QM-QUwHNFpP3lCfjZg&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator</a>, where he worked with small tech start-ups. His next paid software development internship was at <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__pixelplace.io_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=wIHr8DxXgXXV8uEnvh5t2uoKgMJq1SrWgC4XtHCw1-0&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Place Pixel</a>, a company that creates next-generation mapping experiences. It went so well that he was offered a full-time job with an equity share in the company. Matt said it felt miraculous when he was able to quit the package delivery company. Today, he’s a full-time software engineer at the company <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__go.sevenfifty.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=iwKTvhwRhik3HJN-GWORZLa2VBRY4XMqyFh2tn00-AU&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SevenFifty</a>.</p> <p>But with better and more targeted resources, we can do even more. We need elected officials to step up and increase the investment in our public colleges: to give us the resources to re-imagine what and how we teach. We need to be able to hire and support full-time faculty who can effectively teach complex material, particularly to a diverse student body. We need the funding to support the collaboration across organizational silos. It’s not just the funding for expanding holistic support like child care, and philanthropy to support transportation, emergency funds, and an on-campus food pantry. It’s also dedicated funding to link the path from the housing projects to training, and from training to college.</p> <p>Over the coming weeks and months, there will be much analysis of what went right or wrong with the Amazon deal. No matter who declares victory, what Long Island City is left with does little for the low-income and aspiring New Yorkers who remain on the sidelines. Let’s not lose a moment in getting our talent prepared for whatever happens next, whether it’s the next Amazon wanting to locate here or the start-up just beginning to get launched.</p> <p>Whether you are cheering or bemoaning the crumbling of the agreement, we can all agree those who’ve been historically locked out of job opportunities in the fastest growing industries need more pathways to these good, steady jobs that enable them to provide for themselves and their families.</p> <p>***<br /> Gail O. Mellow is President of LaGuardia Community College. On Twitter <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__twitter.com_LaGuardiaCC&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=f4w7-3sqoaXDThK9XdUFY55Rrz0wEhE0So2Ihocoun8&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@LaGuardiaCC</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
What's The [Data] Point? 25,000, The Amazon Deal That Vanished and What It Means 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8298-what-s-the-data-point-25-000-the-amazon-deal-that-vanished Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 66</strong><strong>&nbsp;-- 25,000, the Amazon Deal That Vanished and What It Means, with Vishaan Chakrabarti [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/vc-amzn150.jpg" alt="vc amzn150" width="150" height="232" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Amazon was coming to Queens with 25,000 jobs and now it's not -- the mega-deal fell apart and the company backed out amid significant pushback from some local elected officials, community activists, and labor unions. Vishaan Chakrabarti, an architect and urban planner who helped lead the Bloomberg administration's Manhattan planning efforts after 9/11, was a proponent of the Amazon deal and believes New York will rue the day the deal fell apart. He joined the podcast to discuss it all, and what comes next.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/579073563&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 66</strong><strong>&nbsp;-- 25,000, the Amazon Deal That Vanished and What It Means, with Vishaan Chakrabarti [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/vc-amzn150.jpg" alt="vc amzn150" width="150" height="232" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Amazon was coming to Queens with 25,000 jobs and now it's not -- the mega-deal fell apart and the company backed out amid significant pushback from some local elected officials, community activists, and labor unions. Vishaan Chakrabarti, an architect and urban planner who helped lead the Bloomberg administration's Manhattan planning efforts after 9/11, was a proponent of the Amazon deal and believes New York will rue the day the deal fell apart. He joined the podcast to discuss it all, and what comes next.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/579073563&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
‘So Poisoned and So Full of Misinformation’: City Economic Development Chief on How the Amazon Deal Fell Apart 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8303-so-poisoned-and-so-full-of-misinformation-city-economic-development-chief-on-how-the-amazon-deal-fell-apart Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/mabdblasio-gov-and-cuomo-qus.jpg" alt="mabdblasio gov and cuomo qus" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>James Patchett, CEO of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, spoke to a packed room on Thursday morning about the reasons behind Amazon’s cancellation of its planned Long Island City “HQ2” campus, in what was a joke-laden and rueful conversation of what could have been and what went wrong.</p> <p>Recounting that he learned of Amazon’s reversal a week ago, on Valentine’s Day, while watching Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” – “the one about a lonely capitalist who gets lost at sea,” he said – Patchett brought the joke home with an image of “Wilson,” the volleyball in the movie, sporting an Amazon-symbol sad face instead of his bloody handprint, eliciting laughter from the room.</p> <p>Amazon announced its plan for a New York campus in November, a result of stiff competition among cities and states around the country for the economic growth all but guaranteed by the company’s large-scale presence. According to Patchett, Amazon would later tell him the 300-page New York proposal was the best they received during the bidding process. Had the Queens campus opened for business, projections from Amazon, the city, and the state said it would create 25,000 to 40,000 jobs and $30 billion in tax revenue over 10 to 15 years.</p> <p>Patchett helped negotiate the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement along with other city officials, state officials, and the company’s representatives. That agreement was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who appointed Patchett to his job at EDC, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Amazon’s John Schoettler, among others, on November 13, 2018.</p> <p>After significant pushback to the deal from several local elected officials, community groups, and labor unions, Amazon decided to abandon the New York plan in a surprising announcement on last week, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. De Blasio immediately blamed the company for jumping ship without further negotiations, while Cuomo took on State Senate Democrats, especially lead Amazon critic Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens.</p> <p>Preparing New Yorkers and the five boroughs for the jobs and companies of the future was the overarching theme of Patchett’s Crain’s appearance, which had been scheduled before Amazon pulled out of the deal. Patchett should have been reveling in the success of architecting the Amazon deal. But, as one moderator noted, “Instead of a coronation, you had a coronary.”</p> <p>Patchett said fundamental misunderstanding of the deal between New York and the Seattle-based tech behemoth was to blame. “If you were reading the media, you would have thought that I was having drinks with some of my best friends, and they said ‘Why did you write them a check for $3 billion?’” he said. Many, including members of the media and regular citizens, “believed it was literally a cash transfer from the outset,” said Patchett. Instead, “Nothing was actually promised to the company,” Patchett said, in apparent reference to the roughly $2.5 billion in tax breaks involved, but ignoring the $500 million cash capital grant the company was to receive from the state. “What [the subsidies] were is a representation of existing state law which has long-sought to incentivize outer-borough commercial growth,” he said.</p> <p>Patchett also cited other reasons he sees for the deal’s demise: Amazon’s lack of preparation to react to opposition to the announced Queens campus, the company’s representatives’ not performing “particularly well at their public hearings” (where they sat next to Patchett for questioning), and Amazon “never hired a single New Yorker to work for them, to talk to New Yorkers, and never really connected with people in the city”-- though the company did hire several city-based lobbyists.</p> <p>The event, held by Crain’s New York Business, included remarks by Patchett followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Crain’s assistant managing editor Erik Enquist and Spectrum News’ Michael Herzenberg. They waited only a few minutes to ask about the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez effect on defeating the deal, referring to the Congressional representative from Queens and the Bronx by her nickname and Twitter handle, “AOC.”</p> <p>“Politics is obviously not my expertise, nor am I going to pretend it is,” said Patchett. “But I think it’s important to talk to local elected leaders. I don’t think the rollout here went as smoothly as it could have, I think that’s clear.” But he added, “I don’t think [the rollout] was a fatal flaw to the project.”</p> <p>Moving to the larger economic outlook for the city, Patchett used cybersecurity as an example of a growing sector. Although it’s an industry with opportunities, New York is catching up to its growth potential through an EDC initiative, he said. “It has the real potential to be a win by protecting our current employers from cyber threats, and at the same time, growing a whole new crop of businesses,” Patchett explained. Cybersecurity sector growth is a key aspect of the mayor’s jobs plan he announced in June 2017 <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7004-interventionist-de-blasio-unveils-ten-year-jobs-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">at a press conference</a> at a cybersecurity firm in Manhattan.</p> <p>He also stressed the need for expanding job growth outside of the central business district of Manhattan, something that has been a key priority for the city for years, and is at the heart of some of the tax breaks at play in the Amazon deal, which were designed broadly, not specifically for Amazon.</p> <p>But when it came to “HQ2,” set for Queens, “Not enough people could see themselves in [Amazon’s] jobs,” said Patchett. “People like the idea of jobs, but until you make them real for people, they don’t associate with them. We need to do a better job of making people not just hear about jobs, but believe those would be the jobs that they would get.”</p> <p> </p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/mabdblasio-gov-and-cuomo-qus.jpg" alt="mabdblasio gov and cuomo qus" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>James Patchett, CEO of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, spoke to a packed room on Thursday morning about the reasons behind Amazon’s cancellation of its planned Long Island City “HQ2” campus, in what was a joke-laden and rueful conversation of what could have been and what went wrong.</p> <p>Recounting that he learned of Amazon’s reversal a week ago, on Valentine’s Day, while watching Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” – “the one about a lonely capitalist who gets lost at sea,” he said – Patchett brought the joke home with an image of “Wilson,” the volleyball in the movie, sporting an Amazon-symbol sad face instead of his bloody handprint, eliciting laughter from the room.</p> <p>Amazon announced its plan for a New York campus in November, a result of stiff competition among cities and states around the country for the economic growth all but guaranteed by the company’s large-scale presence. According to Patchett, Amazon would later tell him the 300-page New York proposal was the best they received during the bidding process. Had the Queens campus opened for business, projections from Amazon, the city, and the state said it would create 25,000 to 40,000 jobs and $30 billion in tax revenue over 10 to 15 years.</p> <p>Patchett helped negotiate the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement along with other city officials, state officials, and the company’s representatives. That agreement was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who appointed Patchett to his job at EDC, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Amazon’s John Schoettler, among others, on November 13, 2018.</p> <p>After significant pushback to the deal from several local elected officials, community groups, and labor unions, Amazon decided to abandon the New York plan in a surprising announcement on last week, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. De Blasio immediately blamed the company for jumping ship without further negotiations, while Cuomo took on State Senate Democrats, especially lead Amazon critic Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens.</p> <p>Preparing New Yorkers and the five boroughs for the jobs and companies of the future was the overarching theme of Patchett’s Crain’s appearance, which had been scheduled before Amazon pulled out of the deal. Patchett should have been reveling in the success of architecting the Amazon deal. But, as one moderator noted, “Instead of a coronation, you had a coronary.”</p> <p>Patchett said fundamental misunderstanding of the deal between New York and the Seattle-based tech behemoth was to blame. “If you were reading the media, you would have thought that I was having drinks with some of my best friends, and they said ‘Why did you write them a check for $3 billion?’” he said. Many, including members of the media and regular citizens, “believed it was literally a cash transfer from the outset,” said Patchett. Instead, “Nothing was actually promised to the company,” Patchett said, in apparent reference to the roughly $2.5 billion in tax breaks involved, but ignoring the $500 million cash capital grant the company was to receive from the state. “What [the subsidies] were is a representation of existing state law which has long-sought to incentivize outer-borough commercial growth,” he said.</p> <p>Patchett also cited other reasons he sees for the deal’s demise: Amazon’s lack of preparation to react to opposition to the announced Queens campus, the company’s representatives’ not performing “particularly well at their public hearings” (where they sat next to Patchett for questioning), and Amazon “never hired a single New Yorker to work for them, to talk to New Yorkers, and never really connected with people in the city”-- though the company did hire several city-based lobbyists.</p> <p>The event, held by Crain’s New York Business, included remarks by Patchett followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Crain’s assistant managing editor Erik Enquist and Spectrum News’ Michael Herzenberg. They waited only a few minutes to ask about the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez effect on defeating the deal, referring to the Congressional representative from Queens and the Bronx by her nickname and Twitter handle, “AOC.”</p> <p>“Politics is obviously not my expertise, nor am I going to pretend it is,” said Patchett. “But I think it’s important to talk to local elected leaders. I don’t think the rollout here went as smoothly as it could have, I think that’s clear.” But he added, “I don’t think [the rollout] was a fatal flaw to the project.”</p> <p>Moving to the larger economic outlook for the city, Patchett used cybersecurity as an example of a growing sector. Although it’s an industry with opportunities, New York is catching up to its growth potential through an EDC initiative, he said. “It has the real potential to be a win by protecting our current employers from cyber threats, and at the same time, growing a whole new crop of businesses,” Patchett explained. Cybersecurity sector growth is a key aspect of the mayor’s jobs plan he announced in June 2017 <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/7004-interventionist-de-blasio-unveils-ten-year-jobs-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">at a press conference</a> at a cybersecurity firm in Manhattan.</p> <p>He also stressed the need for expanding job growth outside of the central business district of Manhattan, something that has been a key priority for the city for years, and is at the heart of some of the tax breaks at play in the Amazon deal, which were designed broadly, not specifically for Amazon.</p> <p>But when it came to “HQ2,” set for Queens, “Not enough people could see themselves in [Amazon’s] jobs,” said Patchett. “People like the idea of jobs, but until you make them real for people, they don’t associate with them. We need to do a better job of making people not just hear about jobs, but believe those would be the jobs that they would get.”</p> <p> </p> 15 Ideas for Expanding Economic Opportunity in New York in 2019 2019-01-30T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-30T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8241-15-ideas-for-expanding-economic-opportunity-in-new-york-in-2019 Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/govandcuomo-oppagenda.jpg" alt="govandcuomo oppagenda" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(photo: Governor's office)</p> <hr /> <p>New York’s Legislature has been on a tear in the first days of 2019, passing the DREAM Act to help undocumented students pay for college, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and overhauling the state’s antiquated election laws. Now lawmakers have an opportunity to take similarly bold steps to reduce income inequality statewide. &nbsp;</p> <p>It’s time to build on early momentum and help lift more New Yorkers into the middle class. To do so, the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) has laid out 15 proposals that the state Legislature can implement this year to help thousands more New Yorkers build the skills and educational credentials needed to get ahead in today’s economy.</p> <p><strong>1. Double the number of apprenticeships statewide</strong><br /> Research shows that apprenticeships are among the most successful strategies for lifting low-income residents into the middle class, allowing participants to earn a living while learning on the job. But with a workforce of more than 8.2 million and just 17,000 apprentices, New York has an enormous opportunity to expand this model into fast-growing industries from healthcare and tech to hospitality and green energy. The Legislature should pass legislation supporting this goal, which Governor Cuomo proposed in his 2019 agenda, and allocate funding to expand apprenticeship programs statewide.</p> <p><strong>2. Boost the number of college graduates by creating a Student Success Fund</strong><br />A college credential has become the floor to accessing a well-paying job in today’s economy, but college completion rates are alarmingly low among the state’s community colleges. Only 26 percent of SUNY community college students graduate in three years, and at CUNY community colleges that rate is just 22 percent. New York should create a statewide Student Success Fund to implement and expand evidence-backed programs that boost student success at SUNY and CUNY community colleges. This fund could be used to lower the ratio of college advisors to students, expand highly successful initiatives like CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), and support the development of corequisite instruction models that help underprepared students succeed.</p> <p><strong>3. Establish the nation’s first Automation Preparation Plan</strong><br />Automation and artificial intelligence will likely displace thousands of jobs across the state and transform millions more. CUF’s research suggests that 1.2 million jobs statewide could be largely automated using technology that exists today, with lasting consequences for workers in every corner of the state. New York should get ahead of this by launching the nation’s first Automation Preparation Plan, which would include new investments that upskill workers in fields that are most at risk of displacement, provide new opportunities for New Yorkers to pursue lifelong learning, and retrain workers whose jobs are eliminated. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Tweak the Excelsior Scholarship to benefit more students</strong><br />New York’s Excelsior Scholarship helps make college affordable for more families, but a few strategic tweaks would ensure that many more New Yorkers can take advantage of this promising—but far too limited—scholarship program. In the program’s first year, only 3.2 percent of the 633,543 undergraduates statewide received an award from the Excelsior program. The Legislature should enact reforms to reduce the program’s credit requirement to equal a regular full-time courseload, support summer enrollment to help students progress more quickly, and add funding to cover more non-tuition financial barriers that otherwise derail low-income students from the path to graduation.</p> <p><strong>5. Develop a statewide workforce development plan</strong><br />New York lacks enough skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of the labor market. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers could benefit from new skills and credentials that can help them get ahead in a fast-changing economy. To meet these growing needs, New York needs to develop its first statewide workforce development plan. The Legislature can support this goal by directing the state’s new Office of Workforce Development and every state agency with a role in the system to work together on developing a fully integrated plan that leverages shared resources, connects services, and establishes clear outcome measures.</p> <p><strong>6. Expand bridge programs to boost skills while preparing New Yorkers for jobs</strong><br />Governor Cuomo and the Legislature passed a historic $175 million investment in workforce development last year, which will help thousands of New Yorkers train for jobs. But for millions of New Yorkers who lack math and literacy skills, gaining entry to effective workforce programs will first require boosting their basic skills. That’s what bridge programs do best: help adults with limited formal education acquire the skills they need to transition into training and higher education. Legislators should increase support for this highly effective approach and ensure that programs using the bridge model are available to workers statewide.</p> <p><strong>7. Fix TAP to make college affordable for part-time students</strong><br />Part-time students now account for 43 percent of all students enrolled in community colleges statewide—up from 32 percent in 1980—but the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is almost exclusively available to full-time students. This hurts New Yorkers from low- and moderate-income communities who understand the importance of a college credential but can only afford to attend school on a part-time basis. To help more working New Yorkers pay for college, legislators should lift restrictions on the state’s current part-time TAP program and make college affordable for part-time students, too.</p> <p><strong>8. Build a statewide hub for labor market data to improve workforce programs</strong><br />To make the most of New York’s vital new investments in workforce development, the Legislature should mandate the creation of a publicly-accessible labor-market information tool, managed by the Office of Workforce Development. This tool will help inform workforce development providers, employers, and job-seekers, and ensure that state-funded programs are more responsive to the needs of employers and more effective for their participants.</p> <p><strong>9. Revise seat-time requirements so students can learn through hands-on experience</strong><br />Innovative high schools across the country are getting students out of the classroom and into the real world, whether through apprenticeships, career-exploration programs, or internships in fast-growing industries like tech and healthcare. But New York is restricted in its ability to cultivate hands-on programs for high school students by long-standing “seat-time” requirements, which typically require students to spend 90 percent of their days in class. New York can spark new approaches to hands-on learning by rolling back these requirements and replacing them with proficiency-based credits.</p> <p><strong>10. Create new challenge grants to incentivize remedial education reform at New York’s public colleges</strong><br />Each year, thousands of students are placed into remedial education at SUNY and CUNY colleges, with serious consequences for their academic and economic futures. These students typically use up their financial aid without earning college credit and the vast majority drop out without a degree. Research shows that many underprepared students can succeed in alternatives to traditional remediation—and both SUNY and CUNY have new programs that are working. But to incentivize these reforms at scale, New York should create new time-limited challenge grants to spur every campus to reform remedial education.</p> <p><strong>11. Increase funding for adult education for the first time in decades</strong><br />More than 1.5 million adults in New York lack a high school diploma or equivalent, and 2.3 million are less than proficient in English. For these New Yorkers, adult education programs can provide a critical link to effective job training, educational opportunities, and better wages. But New York’s primary funding source for adult education, the Employment Preparation Education (EPE) program, has plunged 36 percent since 1996, after adjusting for inflation. The Legislature should reverse this alarming trend with a new investment in adult education.</p> <p><strong>12. Invest in high school equivalency preparation and bring adult education into the 21st century by computerizing TASC test centers</strong><br />Too few New Yorkers are taking and passing the state’s high school equivalency exam, known as the TASC. The number of residents earning a credential has fallen by nearly half since 2010, and New York is tied for the lowest pass rate in the nation. To help more New Yorkers get a foothold in a changing economy, New York needs to significantly boost high school equivalency attainment statewide. The Legislature can help ensure more New Yorkers pass the test by increasing funding for test preparation, accelerating the development of computer-based testing centers, and expanding professional development to train instructors.</p> <p><strong>13. Launch a statewide Career Pathways fund to spur new education and training programs</strong><br />The state’s fragmented funding system for workforce development makes it difficult to develop workforce programs that meet the full scope of needs statewide. As part of a broader effort to create a cohesive statewide workforce development plan, the Legislature should launch a Career Pathways funding application that supports activities across the full spectrum of workforce programs, including innovative bridge models, pre-apprenticeships, initiatives focused on youth and older adults, and other important programs that could otherwise be left behind.</p> <p><strong>14. Encourage low-income New Yorkers to save by nixing asset limits for assistance programs</strong><br />Federal programs intended to combat poverty, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)&nbsp;and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), are a vital source of support for New</p> <p>York’s low-income families. But a little-known state rule restricts families who receive public benefits to just $2,000 in savings or assets. The result is that low-income families are penalized for saving. The Legislature should follow the lead of states ranging from Hawaii to Alabama to eliminate this rule and help more New Yorkers get on the path to financial stability.</p> <p><strong>15. Fulfill cost-of-living adjustments for human services organizations with state contracts</strong><br />Critical but often overlooked, New York’s human services organizations provide the foundation of support required to help New Yorkers on the path to economic opportunity. But these organizations themselves face significant financial burdens, including government contracts that fail to cover the true cost of services. To strengthen New York’s vital human services sector, state legislators should reinstate the statutory human services workforce cost-of-living adjustment—providing salary bumps to workers who have gone nine years without an increase—and continue to include $100 million in capital funding for nonprofit infrastructure.</p> <p>***<br /> Jonathan Bowles is executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, a New York–based think tank focused on expanding economic opportunity. Eli Dvorkin is CUF’s editorial and policy director. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jbowlesnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@jbowlesnyc</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/wetwax" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@wetwax</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/nycfuture" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@NYCFuture</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/govandcuomo-oppagenda.jpg" alt="govandcuomo oppagenda" width="600" height="399" /></p> <p>(photo: Governor's office)</p> <hr /> <p>New York’s Legislature has been on a tear in the first days of 2019, passing the DREAM Act to help undocumented students pay for college, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and overhauling the state’s antiquated election laws. Now lawmakers have an opportunity to take similarly bold steps to reduce income inequality statewide. &nbsp;</p> <p>It’s time to build on early momentum and help lift more New Yorkers into the middle class. To do so, the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) has laid out 15 proposals that the state Legislature can implement this year to help thousands more New Yorkers build the skills and educational credentials needed to get ahead in today’s economy.</p> <p><strong>1. Double the number of apprenticeships statewide</strong><br /> Research shows that apprenticeships are among the most successful strategies for lifting low-income residents into the middle class, allowing participants to earn a living while learning on the job. But with a workforce of more than 8.2 million and just 17,000 apprentices, New York has an enormous opportunity to expand this model into fast-growing industries from healthcare and tech to hospitality and green energy. The Legislature should pass legislation supporting this goal, which Governor Cuomo proposed in his 2019 agenda, and allocate funding to expand apprenticeship programs statewide.</p> <p><strong>2. Boost the number of college graduates by creating a Student Success Fund</strong><br />A college credential has become the floor to accessing a well-paying job in today’s economy, but college completion rates are alarmingly low among the state’s community colleges. Only 26 percent of SUNY community college students graduate in three years, and at CUNY community colleges that rate is just 22 percent. New York should create a statewide Student Success Fund to implement and expand evidence-backed programs that boost student success at SUNY and CUNY community colleges. This fund could be used to lower the ratio of college advisors to students, expand highly successful initiatives like CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), and support the development of corequisite instruction models that help underprepared students succeed.</p> <p><strong>3. Establish the nation’s first Automation Preparation Plan</strong><br />Automation and artificial intelligence will likely displace thousands of jobs across the state and transform millions more. CUF’s research suggests that 1.2 million jobs statewide could be largely automated using technology that exists today, with lasting consequences for workers in every corner of the state. New York should get ahead of this by launching the nation’s first Automation Preparation Plan, which would include new investments that upskill workers in fields that are most at risk of displacement, provide new opportunities for New Yorkers to pursue lifelong learning, and retrain workers whose jobs are eliminated. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Tweak the Excelsior Scholarship to benefit more students</strong><br />New York’s Excelsior Scholarship helps make college affordable for more families, but a few strategic tweaks would ensure that many more New Yorkers can take advantage of this promising—but far too limited—scholarship program. In the program’s first year, only 3.2 percent of the 633,543 undergraduates statewide received an award from the Excelsior program. The Legislature should enact reforms to reduce the program’s credit requirement to equal a regular full-time courseload, support summer enrollment to help students progress more quickly, and add funding to cover more non-tuition financial barriers that otherwise derail low-income students from the path to graduation.</p> <p><strong>5. Develop a statewide workforce development plan</strong><br />New York lacks enough skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of the labor market. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers could benefit from new skills and credentials that can help them get ahead in a fast-changing economy. To meet these growing needs, New York needs to develop its first statewide workforce development plan. The Legislature can support this goal by directing the state’s new Office of Workforce Development and every state agency with a role in the system to work together on developing a fully integrated plan that leverages shared resources, connects services, and establishes clear outcome measures.</p> <p><strong>6. Expand bridge programs to boost skills while preparing New Yorkers for jobs</strong><br />Governor Cuomo and the Legislature passed a historic $175 million investment in workforce development last year, which will help thousands of New Yorkers train for jobs. But for millions of New Yorkers who lack math and literacy skills, gaining entry to effective workforce programs will first require boosting their basic skills. That’s what bridge programs do best: help adults with limited formal education acquire the skills they need to transition into training and higher education. Legislators should increase support for this highly effective approach and ensure that programs using the bridge model are available to workers statewide.</p> <p><strong>7. Fix TAP to make college affordable for part-time students</strong><br />Part-time students now account for 43 percent of all students enrolled in community colleges statewide—up from 32 percent in 1980—but the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is almost exclusively available to full-time students. This hurts New Yorkers from low- and moderate-income communities who understand the importance of a college credential but can only afford to attend school on a part-time basis. To help more working New Yorkers pay for college, legislators should lift restrictions on the state’s current part-time TAP program and make college affordable for part-time students, too.</p> <p><strong>8. Build a statewide hub for labor market data to improve workforce programs</strong><br />To make the most of New York’s vital new investments in workforce development, the Legislature should mandate the creation of a publicly-accessible labor-market information tool, managed by the Office of Workforce Development. This tool will help inform workforce development providers, employers, and job-seekers, and ensure that state-funded programs are more responsive to the needs of employers and more effective for their participants.</p> <p><strong>9. Revise seat-time requirements so students can learn through hands-on experience</strong><br />Innovative high schools across the country are getting students out of the classroom and into the real world, whether through apprenticeships, career-exploration programs, or internships in fast-growing industries like tech and healthcare. But New York is restricted in its ability to cultivate hands-on programs for high school students by long-standing “seat-time” requirements, which typically require students to spend 90 percent of their days in class. New York can spark new approaches to hands-on learning by rolling back these requirements and replacing them with proficiency-based credits.</p> <p><strong>10. Create new challenge grants to incentivize remedial education reform at New York’s public colleges</strong><br />Each year, thousands of students are placed into remedial education at SUNY and CUNY colleges, with serious consequences for their academic and economic futures. These students typically use up their financial aid without earning college credit and the vast majority drop out without a degree. Research shows that many underprepared students can succeed in alternatives to traditional remediation—and both SUNY and CUNY have new programs that are working. But to incentivize these reforms at scale, New York should create new time-limited challenge grants to spur every campus to reform remedial education.</p> <p><strong>11. Increase funding for adult education for the first time in decades</strong><br />More than 1.5 million adults in New York lack a high school diploma or equivalent, and 2.3 million are less than proficient in English. For these New Yorkers, adult education programs can provide a critical link to effective job training, educational opportunities, and better wages. But New York’s primary funding source for adult education, the Employment Preparation Education (EPE) program, has plunged 36 percent since 1996, after adjusting for inflation. The Legislature should reverse this alarming trend with a new investment in adult education.</p> <p><strong>12. Invest in high school equivalency preparation and bring adult education into the 21st century by computerizing TASC test centers</strong><br />Too few New Yorkers are taking and passing the state’s high school equivalency exam, known as the TASC. The number of residents earning a credential has fallen by nearly half since 2010, and New York is tied for the lowest pass rate in the nation. To help more New Yorkers get a foothold in a changing economy, New York needs to significantly boost high school equivalency attainment statewide. The Legislature can help ensure more New Yorkers pass the test by increasing funding for test preparation, accelerating the development of computer-based testing centers, and expanding professional development to train instructors.</p> <p><strong>13. Launch a statewide Career Pathways fund to spur new education and training programs</strong><br />The state’s fragmented funding system for workforce development makes it difficult to develop workforce programs that meet the full scope of needs statewide. As part of a broader effort to create a cohesive statewide workforce development plan, the Legislature should launch a Career Pathways funding application that supports activities across the full spectrum of workforce programs, including innovative bridge models, pre-apprenticeships, initiatives focused on youth and older adults, and other important programs that could otherwise be left behind.</p> <p><strong>14. Encourage low-income New Yorkers to save by nixing asset limits for assistance programs</strong><br />Federal programs intended to combat poverty, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)&nbsp;and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), are a vital source of support for New</p> <p>York’s low-income families. But a little-known state rule restricts families who receive public benefits to just $2,000 in savings or assets. The result is that low-income families are penalized for saving. The Legislature should follow the lead of states ranging from Hawaii to Alabama to eliminate this rule and help more New Yorkers get on the path to financial stability.</p> <p><strong>15. Fulfill cost-of-living adjustments for human services organizations with state contracts</strong><br />Critical but often overlooked, New York’s human services organizations provide the foundation of support required to help New Yorkers on the path to economic opportunity. But these organizations themselves face significant financial burdens, including government contracts that fail to cover the true cost of services. To strengthen New York’s vital human services sector, state legislators should reinstate the statutory human services workforce cost-of-living adjustment—providing salary bumps to workers who have gone nine years without an increase—and continue to include $100 million in capital funding for nonprofit infrastructure.</p> <p>***<br /> Jonathan Bowles is executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, a New York–based think tank focused on expanding economic opportunity. Eli Dvorkin is CUF’s editorial and policy director. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jbowlesnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@jbowlesnyc</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/wetwax" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@wetwax</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/nycfuture" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@NYCFuture</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>