Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Adams 2021: Economy - A New Economy For All New Yorkers

Estimates are that, even after the COVID crisis is somewhat under control, New York City will have half-a-million fewer jobs than before the pandemic. To recover faster and stronger, and to grow an equitable economy, we must expand into new emerging industries that have the potential to provide work for New Yorkers from all backgrounds and educations. I will do that by:

  • Investing significantly in green jobs, including renewable energy production and transmission, building retrofits, infrastructure improvements and a booming wind power industry.
  • Growing the life sciences industry here with incentives and changes to our land use and buildings rules.
  • Attract start-ups and new investment with incubators and programs linked to CUNY, offering tax breaks and cheaper space.

Invest in green infrastructure through the City’s capital program.

New Yorkers spend roughly $19 billion per year on energy and it happens through the city’s highly interdependent electricity, natural gas, and steam networks. This infrastructure is considered some of the oldest and most concentrated in the nation. By upgrading our electrical grid, transitioning our power source to wind and away from natural gas, and implementing traffic controls to reduce idling, we can improve the quality of life of New Yorkers and create thousands of new jobs, especially those in low-income communities facing environmental injustice.

These investments are not only the moral path to take, but they also make common economic sense because they will create good paying jobs for New Yorkers and businesses will be able to rely on resilient infrastructure in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Make New York City the wind power hub of the eastern seaboard.

With waterfront assets like SBMT, the Red Hook Container Terminal, Port Richmond, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we have an opportunity to corner the market on wind power manufacturing and other green technologies. We must create a pipeline of education training from middle school, high school, college to educate our young people in this field using the forthcoming Harbor School Middle School, the Harbor School on Governors Island and universities like Kingsborough CC.

Attract new out-of-town businesses.

The Relocation Employment Assistance Program (REAP) has successfully drawn new businesses here from outside the state by providing a tax credit per employee per year if they locate in certain areas of the city. We will expand that to bring more business to New York.

Make NYC the life sciences capital of the world.

Life sciences is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world—and these companies want to locate in cities where they will have access to leading hospitals, universities and investors like New York City. To bring them here, we will double-down on the existing life sciences initiative with incentives and zoning changes that will draw in private investment and federal dollars for research.

Start a citywide incubator to incentivize solving intractable city problems.

To help investors and potential business investors, the City will start an incubator to fund innovators focused on solving systemic citywide problems that lead to inequities. New Yorkers do not need another meal delivery service or social media sensation nearly as much as we need our brightest minds to come together and solve issues such as job placement and outer-borough transportation.

Encourage startups in industries of the future to locate here.

Real estate costs and high costs of living have made some of the most brilliant talent turn to other cities. That means we have missed out on the job opportunities and the birth of fast-growing industries. So we will incentivize startups to move to our outer boroughs, where property costs are more affordable, and we will develop fellowship programs with CUNY schools in exchange for tax credits.

Return to urban agriculture.

Centuries ago, New York made its own food and the agriculture industry was one of its largest employers. Today, we rely almost entirely on out-of-town, out-of-state, and out-of-country producers for everything from the apple we buy at the bodega to the meals served to our kids in school.

By creating a new set of building codes, business rules and tax programs for urban farmers — and supporting local producers with guaranteed City contracts — we will create jobs by building vast in-city sites that produce food for restaurants, schools and food-insecurity programs through cutting-edge techniques such as vertical farming and hydroponics, often sharing space with renewable energy plants and other sustainability infrastructure.

Reinvest in what makes NYC beautiful.

The pandemic has had an outsize impact on the arts and cultural institutions. Long-term this will also hurt tourism, which provided 400,000 jobs pre-COVID. We will reduce unemployment in this sector while returning our city to the pinnacle of arts and culture by: providing free space for artists to create using vacant storefronts to create free co-working and studio spaces; turning our open spaces into spaces for art by tasking the Department of Cultural Affairs to greenlight more open spaces to be used as stages and for art installations; commissioning artists to paint murals with environment-friendly paints and adorning blighted properties with colorful murals.

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