The city would devote billions of dollars to creating thousands of jobs under a new plan from mayoral hopeful Maya Wiley.
The former top de Blasio aide said Sunday she would launch a project modeled on the federal government’s Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration “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.”
The proposal comes as the 2021 mayoral race is kicking into high gear and candidates are publishing ambitious proposals on handling the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, among other colossal challenges.
Wiley’s “New Deal New York” plan sets lofty goals: 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers over five years, with 70,000 of them going to “child-care workers, librarians, home health care workers and manufacturers” and 30,000 to “artists, construction, technology and engineer workers.”
She put a whopping $10 billion price tag on the undertaking. “New Deal New York” entails a mix of new projects — requiring the city to take on debt — and existing ones for which the city has already allocated the cash but hasn’t yet spent. Her campaign said the priority for the latter projects, which she has yet to identify, was speeding them up and making sure they benefit overlooked communities.
A “New Deal Czar” reporting to Wiley would oversee the projects. Those include converting Rikers Island into a green energy hub once the notorious jails there are closed. Fellow mayoral wannabe Scott Stringer, the city comptroller, has announced a similar goal, which has gained renewed momentum since the City Council voted in 2019 to shut down Rikers.
Wiley, who is hoping to make history as the city’s first female mayor and second Black mayor, promised to prioritize minority- and women-owned businesses in allocating the cash.
“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,” she stated.
Wiley’s breakdown of the $10 billion includes $2 billion for fixing the city’s beleaguered public housing buildings and “making vital climate resilience updates to a substantial portion” of them.
Another $1 billion — paging the ghost of John Steinbeck — would go to putting artists and performers back to work by “providing performance and studio spaces, and through other capital expenditures.”