Week of November 23, 2005
November 22, 2005
Budget Gap Shrinks
Robust tax revenues prompted the Bloomberg administration yesterday to predict that next year�s budget deficit will be half what it originally predicted. Largely because of the strong real estate market, the city now expects to collect $3.4 billion more in taxes than it first anticipated. The city also expects to save money on pensions for city workers. Some of this is offset by the costs of new contracts for city employees and by high energy prices. The bottom line: The projected budget deficit for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, will be $2.3 billion. Discussions on how to bridge the gap will begin in January.
For more, see
Finance Links in the News
Ruling Would Remove Judge
The state Judicial Conduct Commission yesterday recommended that a Queen State Supreme Court judge be removed from the bench for helping a suspect avoid arrest. Eight of the commission�s 11 members voted that Justice Laura Blackburne had "set a reprehensible example for court officers and other court personnel" when she let the man leave her courtroom through a back door. Her lawyer said said she would appeal the ruling. Yesterday�s action came amid increasing concern by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others about the selection of judges in the city.
For more, see Law Links in the News.
Candidate for Speaker Leads Attack on Campaign Finance System (Village Voice)
Bird Flu (Gotham Gazette)
Health Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
November 22, 2005On Surpluses And Strikes
With the transit workers union contract set to expire on December 15th, Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint hinted at the possibility of a strike, accused the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of "negotiating in bad faith" and said that MTA officials "have spent all their waking moments since discovering [the MTA's billion-dollar] surplus trying to find a way to spend it" before the contract runs out. An MTA spokesman denied the charges. Meanwhile, the holiday fare discounts, which will cost an estimated $50 million, will be supplemented by free fares on New Year's Eve under a proposal floated yesterday. For details, see transportation links in the news.
Spitzer Calls For Nonpartisan Redistricting (NY Times)
Housing Advocacy Wins Election, With One Exception (Gotham Gazette)
Housing Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
November 21, 2005Port Authority's Ground Zero Plans
The Port Authority took steps to assert itself at Ground Zero on Friday. It presented a plan for a 375,000 square foot retail center along Church Street which, when combined with the retail space at the transportation center, would restore almost all the retail space that existed on the site before 9/11. The authority also said it could build the World Trade Center memorial itself � and guaranteed it could do so without price overruns. Such a move would likely simplify construction, but the foundation currently in charge of the memorial said that it would also make it difficult to raise funds.
One in Five Asian New Yorkers Have Hepatitis B (Daily News)
City Stalls on School Road Safety (NY Post)
New York's Food Shortage (Gotham Gazette)
Speaker Candidates Speak (Gotham Gazette)
Satan or Savior: Profile of Eliot Spitzer (Fortune Magazine)