Problem and Impact
New York City is facing the worst economic crisis in at least a generation. More than half of City households have experienced a lost job, wages, or hours during the pandemic as of September. 1 in 5 New Yorkers have had serious trouble affording food since the pandemic started. An estimated 1.2-1.3 million residents are unemployed.
The partial recovery hasn’t reached most sectors or people who are hurting. Government-funded social assistance nonprofits; private educational organizations (all grade levels); and professional and technical services are still reeling. By August , only 29% of the private jobs lost during March and April had been recovered. Some people who have gone back to work are working fewer hours than before.
People of color have suffered the worst. As of September, Black and Latinx households had much higher rates of food and housing insecurity and Asian households were experiencing record job loss. Nearly a third of households with incomes below $50,000 were food and housing insecure. And businesses owned by people of color have had the hardest time accessing aid and been the most likely to close during the pandemic
A smart recovery is an equitable recovery and relies on investment in a sustainable economy, not on austerity measures that tell hungry people to simply tighten their belts. Pre-pandemic, New York faced one of the worst periods of economic inequity in its history, and was the most economically inequitable city in America. The pandemic further exposed those preexisting conditions.
Even when the City was flush with a budget surplus, it delayed critical projects and much of its infrastructure was neglected as the White House failed to deliver an infrastructure bill. New York faces over $200 billion in planned work and unmet needs just to return its infrastructure to a state of good repair. Rebuilding the City’s economy includes rebuilding its infrastructure with a focus on good wages, supporting local small businesses, and meeting community needs. This will require significant and focused investment. But it’s well worth it. We need new and bold investment in our City’s future unlike efforts that have come before–this crisis requires an unprecedented response.
Vision & Principles
As Mayor, Maya Wiley will take bold, decisive action and invest city dollars back into our communities and neighborhoods–addressing the City’s critical infrastructure needs through investments that also put City residents back to work and stimulate the economy.
Maya’s vision for economic recovery is guided by these core principles:
- Communities are experts in their needs and know what has and has not worked for them. They must be involved in the planning and implementation of a recovery;
- We must focus our attention on communities hard hit in this crisis and those who have historically suffered from disinvestment and have borne the brunt of the pandemic and its economic fall out – communities of color;
- We must invest in growing wealth here in New York, along with attracting newcomers—but we must do so in ways that don’t offer unfair advantages or exacerbate inequalities and deny too many the dignity they deserve;
- We must recover with worker protections and living wages;
- We must change the way New York does economic development with a holistic approach that does not force residents to choose between good jobs, climate goals, affordable housing and displacement; and
- We must invest in new industry while also investing in and protecting existing small businesses and cultural institutions that enrich our daily lives and the economy.
New Deal New York
New York City is facing the worst economic crisis in at least a generation. The City is also facing a looming infrastructure crisis. We need the federal government to step up, and it must. But we cannot wait to take action. We need a New Deal for New York.
Maya Wiley has a bold vision for economic recovery that looks holistically at the problem and will include proposals to:
- Support small businesses
- Strengthen protections for workers
- Protect gig workers and workers in the cash economy
- Reclaim a year of learning for students and better prepare them to eventually enter the workforce
- Reimagine New York’s workforce development ecosystem
The centerpiece of Maya Wiley’s economic recovery proposal is a Works Progress Administration-style infrastructure, stimulus and jobs program: a $10 billion investment to provide a shot in the arm of our City’s economy–putting residents back to work and investing in the future of our communities.
New Deal New York will create up to 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. 30,000 will be new jobs through projects that will employ artists, construction, technology, and engineer workers, along with approximately 70,000 indirect jobs for childcare workers, librarians, home healthcare workers, and manufacturers.
New Deal New York will:
- Create a new centrally managed $10 billion capital spending program. This 5-year program for public works projects will fund much-needed development, infrastructure repairs, and enhancements. The fund will consist of committed unspent capital funds and new capital dollars financed by City debt. The proposed spending would include new projects, as well as accelerating projects currently in the pipeline that meet the program’s criteria which will include equity and advance social and economic goals .
- Appoint a New Deal Czar, who reports directly to the Mayor, to oversee the plan, coordinate agency spending, and ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability. Spending on this scale requires focused, central coordination. A senior level official, will be responsible for streamlining the capital spending of all agencies, and federal capital for projects such as NYCHA and bridges and tunnels. The official will be responsible for working with the agencies on fast-tracking capital projects and eliminating the regulatory barriers faced by agencies in capital spending.
- Expedite and target these investments to ensure that recovery happens quickly and equitably. New York will need to spend capital money faster than ever to immediately put people to work; this must be done with sufficient oversight and attention to the most marginalized and hardest hit communities are . New Deal New York will target investments based on a comprehensive analysis of capital needs across five boroughs, using metrics including racial disparities in income, unemployment, capital need and city investment over the past decade, to ensure capital dollars are utilized in the most underinvested communities first.
- Streamline workforce development spending to ensure these new jobs go to the New Yorkers who need them most. Currently, nine city agencies have workforce development programs, yet there is little centralization of the City’s workforce system–an issue that prior administrations have failed to address. The New Deal Czar will help ensure centralize sources of funding to commit to robust workforce training. These financing commitments include leveraging existing workforce training dollars spread across different agencies, federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act dollars expected to be released through the Biden administration, and philanthropic contributions.
- Prioritize procurement for all projects from local MWBE businesses to support meeting aggressive goals, including industrial and manufacturing businesses. New York has a strong industrial and manufacturing sector that provides good paying jobs to a majority minority workforce. People of color represent 81% of New York City’s industrial and manufacturing workforce, earning average annual wages of $69,161. We will strengthen this industry by contracting with local small businesses as suppliers, creating an additional stimulus to our city’s economy.
Economic Impact & Job Creation
We can do more than recover from COVID-19. We can reimagine our City as stronger, more fair and more just—a place where we can all live with dignity. New Deal New York will help us do just that.The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that a dollar in infrastructure investment can result in $1.50 in GDP growth. In our current financial crisis, we must prioritize forward looking, equitable economic growth through sound investments that center our City’s future. Efficient, reliable infrastructure is vital to our City’s economic growth. Current interest rates are historically low and favorable to borrowing.. New York City does not need state approval or oversight for additional borrowing for capital needs.
In order to design a recovery that includes everyone, we must recognize that physical infrastructure can and must benefit social, cultural and civic infrastructure. Physical structures and facilities make it possible for our economy to function, and shared social, cultural, and civic structures enable all of us to fully and meaningfully participate in economic and public life.
Our capital construction dollars will fund physical infrastructure. Infrastructure we invest in needs to be physically safe, but also meet our climate and environmental justice goals around health and safety. And we will create opportunities for the location of social, educational, cultural and civic infrastructure in projects as appropriate (e.g. space for libraries, community spaces and child care). When we think about communities having access to opportunity, this must also include the culture, character, and diversity that makes communities healthy and whole.
New Deal New York will make significant investments in public works projects spanning a number of areas outlined below. Allocations will be determined based on a thorough assessment of potential projects, including the City’s previously articulated capital needs, though initial potential funding numbers are noted for each category below. This assessment will also take into consideration historic disinvestment from communities of color. Communities of color often experience delayed repairs to public infrastructure. This assessment will take stock of infrastructural needs by community district. Metrics will include indicators such as unemployment rate, average capital investment by the community district over the course of ten years, number and nature of critical and emergency repairs, and length of time within a project pipeline. Projects deemed critical based on these metrics will be fast-tracked.
While our capital spending focuses on physical infrastructure, and includes spaces that support social infrastructure, our social infrastructure priorities will also include projects funded through the expense budget, that support greater dignity in communities of concern.
- Building a Climate Resilient NYC ($3 billion in new spending and accelerated spending): As climate change threatens our City, New York must immediately invest in resilient infrastructure and developments on public land that address climate change while prioritizing the City’s most historically marginalized and vulnerable communities. This includes funding development that helps New York prepare for and work to minimize climate change such as Renewable Rikers, developing solar and wind power generation, implementing energy grid infrastructure, energy storage systems, conversion to permeable surfaces, coastal resiliency, and water infrastructure, and fully funding the Department of Parks and Recreation’s capital budget.
- Transforming NYCHA ($2 billion in new spending and accelerated spending): Investing in climate resilient public land includes investing in public housing. NYCHA is home to 1 in 15 New Yorkers. NYCHA housing faces an estimated $13 billion in badly needed emergency repairs. Twenty-eight percent of NYCHA developments are located in the City’s floodplain and public housing residents in waterfront communities are among those most vulnerable to effects of climate change, sea level rise, and coastal flooding. Capital investment would begin to address decades of underinvestment and would provide residents safe living conditions while also making vital climate resilience updates to a substantial portion of our City’s housing stock. Investing in NYCHA would mean investing in job-ready skills and career pathways, promoting local hiring, and developing a model for long term sustainable safe and sustainable public housing. Investments will be determined with the participation and input of NYCHA residents.
- Modernizing Physical and Digital Infrastructure ($2 billion in new spending and accelerated spending): New York’s aging and crumbling physical infrastructure presents serious financial and safety issues for the City. While the city has made strides in capital investment in the past few years, critical infrastructure remains vulnerable. Water main breaks are at the highest they’ve been in over a decade, and 67 bridges in the city are at risk of partial collapse. Engineers, construction trade workers, architects, and planners will be needed to address these immediate needs. While we must update the City’s crumbling sewage and transportation structures, including roads, bridges, protected bus lanes and bike lanes, we must also work to develop the City’s digital infrastructure spending and leverage that spending for MWBE and local businesses. We must also leverage the City’s digital infrastructure spending to help tackle the pervasive digital divide, including more low cost options and access. This will require creativity and transforming how the government works on broadband— as well as investment in the skill sets to build and deploy networks and ensure digital inclusion.
- Designing a Recovery for Artists and Culture Workers ($1 billion in new spending and accelerated spending): Put the City’s artists and performers back to work by providing performance and studio spaces, and through other capital expenditures that support arts and culture in the City.
- Building Social Infrastructure through Physical Infrastructure ($2 billion in new spending and accelerated spending): Investments in our city’s physical infrastructure should also act as investments in its social infrastructure. While capital spending is limited to infrastructural projects, we must ensure that we prioritize projects that create added value to our communities and help advance a community oriented economic recovery. In new mixed use affordable housing projects, we will build community facilities that include community day care and early education centers, community kitchens, and small business incubator sites. We will build long term, permanent supportive housing and partner with the Department of Social Services, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and Housing Preservation and Development, and community based organizations to provide low cost and subsidized office space. Good physical design can help tackle issues of incarceration, homelessness, substance use and mental health, help create more small businesses, and help parents get access to quality childcare and facilitate a return to work for more New Yorkers.
Targeting Job Creation
While New York has seen large scale development in many neighborhoods, many have not benefited from the employment opportunities generated by these projects. As we continue to invest in our city, it is critical that underserved communities receive the benefits of major projects, and that new investment goes to increase employment and build wealth in communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and historically overlooked. Targeted hire policies are one of the most effective strategies for bringing good job opportunities to underinvested and overlooked communities and ensure that local residents receive local jobs. It’s time that New York addresses long standing racial disparities in employment and implements policies that actively address legacies of systemic racism that arise in our labor market. Enforceable targeted hire is a proven and effective way to ensure that local jobs go to local residents.
In order to ensure that these jobs will go toward New Yorkers who need them most we will:
- Develop and implement policies and practices that promote local hiring of residents in communities with high unemployment and poverty rates and support pre-apprentice and apprentice programs that diversify the workforce.
- Commit existing sources of operational funding for bridge programs that lead to employment in NDNY projects. This includes working with NYCHA, DYCD, DOE, SBS and community based workforce development and arts organizations in neighborhoods where NDNY projects are being built.
- Partner with CUNY, in particular the Grove School of Engineering, to create a job pipeline for new graduates who are facing an uncertain job market and economic future.
- Build workforce training sites in impacted neighborhoods and partner with neighborhood-based organizations to run training programs. Currently, workforce sites are dispersed across the city, often far from the most impacted communities. South Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation’s Workforce 1 Industrial & Transportation Career Center provides a replicable model.