Eric's Economic Plan

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.

Lifting Up Working People

Working class New Yorkers are struggling during this financial crisis—and they need direct assistance now and a much stronger safety net for the future. We also must do a much better job of finding jobs for New Yorkers. I will do that by:

  • Providing direct cash assistance to New Yorkers through my NYC AID program.
  • Offering subsidized or free childcare to any New Yorker needs it.
  • Creating an unprecedented effort to place New Yorkers in new jobs.

Enact an NYC AID program to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.

We will keep precious dollars in the hands of New Yorkers who most need it by boosting the City’s Earned Income Tax Credit amount for frontline workers by increasing their share to 30% of the Federal return. This will significantly help households making up to $50,000 a year.

Provide every parent who needs it with childcare.

Childcare in New York is outrageously expensive—and the lack of affordable childcare harms parents’ ability to work and affects their children’s futures. Children without adequate childcare – especially during the first 1,000 days of life – are much less likely to succeed and are much more likely to be Black and Brown.

It is a moral imperative that we provide childcare for every parent who cannot afford it, starting at birth. This will close a massive gap in care for the youngest New Yorkers at the most critical point of their brain development, and free parents — especially women of color — to power our economy and excel in their careers.

Develop a next-level citywide job training and placement program.

The City has had mixed success in training its workforce and connecting them to better job opportunities for generations. Today’s global marketplace has more competition than ever for labor and the skills needed for emerging, lucrative industries like artificial intelligence, cyber security and life sciences are in demand. We are woefully underprepared for this moment: We had hundreds-of-thousands of jobs that we could not fill before the pandemic. We will go to the next level to prepare our workforce by using metrics and connecting human services nonprofits, the private sector, and the communities that most need jobs to identify skill gaps and focus our training on those areas.

We will implement a data-oriented system with holistic and detailed skills mapping of the labor force by City Council district. Companies looking to hire will then submit a set of jobs and skills profiles. We will then match workers to appropriate providers using local organizations and working with landlords with open storefronts to create service centers and outreach programs. Lastly, we will develop a public-private partnership with large New York companies to develop a talent portal with a centralized system of resumes and hiring information using a tool similar to the college admissions Common App process.

Make it easier for New Yorkers to find jobs.

Our city’s unemployment rate for people of color is far higher than it is for white New Yorkers. But the biggest problem is not a lack of jobs; it’s the lack of access to jobs. It takes an average of nine weeks to find a job in the City. Our digital portal for all agencies will simplify filing for jobs with one-stop shopping by identifying all available city jobs and making it easier to apply. We also should expand the summer youth employment program and make it year-around.

Help the unbanked and under banked build wealth.

New York City has 350,000 households that are unbanked and another 680,000 that are under banked, meaning they must rely on services such as check cashing or payday loans. That means we are sidelining thousands of people from our economy and allowing industries such as payday lending to flourish by profiting off of poverty. Community-based banks in lower-income areas that remove minimum balance requirements and overdraft fees will be granted property tax relief, or their landlords will, in exchange for sharing that relief as a rent break.

Make the Summer Youth Employment Program Year-Round.

We know summer jobs programs help youth develop crucial skills, which lead to better criminal justice, academic, and employment outcomes. In the immediate term, they also help families make ends meet. We need to make these programs year-round—and we will.

Sustaining Our Small Businesses

Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy—and we must provide them with the support to re-open and grow. At the same time, we have to spend New Yorkers’ tax dollars on New Yorkers and their businesses, focusing on minority and women-owned businesses that have historically not been included in economic booms and City spending.

  • Prioritizing minority- and women-owned businesses for City contracts.
  • Eliminating fees and significantly reducing fines for small business.
  • Supporting our bars and restaurants – and their workers – with tax breaks.

Slash the red tape to save small businesses.  

Right now, small businesses pay up to $5,000 in fees for small violations like using the wrong type or accidentally listing the wrong phone number due to a lack of education about the laws. The last thing we want to do in an economic crisis is charge people to start a new business and re-start a closed one. We will make the permitting process easier and cheaper through our online portal, and institute a warning system for relatively minor violations so first-time offenders are educated instead of fined. We will provide additional clarity by instituting a three-level warning system signifying the number of days the owner has until the cure must be implemented.

Be the “back office” for our small businesses.

On average, small business owners spend 120 workdays a year on all the administrative tasks that come with owning a business. The City can offer “back office” assistance through local Chambers of Commerce, so our mom-and-pop shops and entrepreneurs can save time and money on accounting and compliance needs and focus on growing their businesses.

Create “Tax-Free Tuesdays.”

Out-of-town tech companies like Amazon have asserted market dominance here at the expense of small business owners—a problem that only deepened during the pandemic. My administration will implement a weekly sales tax holiday, every Tuesday, on services and products that are more likely to be paid for in-person to incentivize New Yorkers to spend locally. We will offset the cost of this weekly holiday by more fairly taxing online transactions such as streaming services, which are not taxed.

Save our hotel industry, bars and restaurants.

Tourism is a key sector of our economy, and we must keep the welcome mat out for visitors who bring billions of dollars into our city every year. The pandemic shuttered 200 hotels – many permanently — and cut the workforce from 50,000 to 10,000.  Nearly 100,000 once-occupied rooms are empty in an industry that once raised $3.2 billion a year in tax revenue and added some $22 billion in economic benefits annually. To fix that, we must suspend property tax debt interest for two years so that we do not push financially distressed hotels deeper into debt, forcing closures and layoffs.

Keep businesses open and employees working with tax relief.

Business owners are struggling to stay afloat due to the pandemic, forcing them to lay-off workers and close up shop. The city lost upward of 750,000 payroll and self-employment jobs, and the unemployment rate was 16% in September, twice as high as the rest of the country. To keep New Yorkers working — particularly in the service industries — we will allow businesses that pay the Commercial Rent Tax a break for two years if they demonstrate hardship and commit to certain employment levels.

Expand the City’s M/WBE program.

The City does not do nearly enough to ensure that its M/WBE program is effectively leveling the playing field for business owners of color, who are in a much more dire situation during COVID. For instance, M/WBE companies are often unable to participate in the City contracting process because prime contractors are not aware of how to connect with them. To fix this, we will match M/WBE companies with prime contractors and other agencies. We can do that by developing a Preferred M/WBE questionnaire to determine which companies are qualified to participate in bids and log the survey data in a searchable database.

Ensure diverse, equitable growth.

To ensure we are making our economy fairer as we make it larger, we will hire a Chief Diversity Officer to drive change on equity for minorities and women, and also create a tool to track the share of M/WBE contracts and how much the City is spending on those companies versus others in real-time. We will also much more closely track who these M/WBE employers and contractors are employing. And the Officer will be tasked with tracking gender pay equity and the progress we are making toward closing the gap. First they will focus on pay equity within City agencies and then we will push to track it across private employers in the City.

Create a network of community-based banks to invest in underserved areas.

Locally owned businesses did not get adequate help from the federal aid package because the government funneled money through big banks who were unable or unwilling to provide direct assistance—especially to small businesses in communities of color. We will create a formal local banking network and help these lenders have a more robust equity base. Once these lenders are eligible for state and federal loan programs — like the big banks – our administration will help them determine the best small business owners to lend to.

Remind the world that NYC is still the center of the universe.

We will organize the largest employers in New York to develop, fund and implement a marketing plan for our city to the rest of the world unlike any ad campaign we have ever undertaken. In addition to pitching our city as the place to visit, live and invest, we will showcase our commitment to public health and safety to inspire confidence that this is the place to be.

Allow for more local economic development groups.

To create on-the-ground leadership that will aid local economic growth, we will ease restrictions for communities to form new Business Improvement Districts and merchants’ associations along diverse commercial corridors.

Invest New Yorkers’ taxes in New Yorkers.

We will boost the local economy by prioritizing procurement of locally provided services and city-made products for City contracts, and by adjusting building and zoning rules to speed the growth of local manufacturers and producers. We will also engage in a “Loyal to NY” marketing campaign to remind New Yorkers what great products and services are available to them that are made and provided right in their own city. And we will report quarterly the percentage of City contracts that are held by out-of-state vendors.

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