The BALCONY Bulletin

Finding  Common Ground Between
New York Business
and Labor
February 5, 2009

DiNapoli: Wall Street Bonuses
Reach $18 Billion

Report: New York Tax Revenues Down
More Than $1.275 Billion


State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli recently announced that Wall Street Bonuses Fell 44% to $18 billion in 2008.  The Comptroller predicted that tax revenues for New York State would decrease by more than $1 billion and City revenue by more than $275 million as a result.

Last week, referring to these bonuses, President Barack Obama stated, "it is the height of irresponsibility ... it is shameful and part of what we are going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility."


Mid-Year Cuts
for Community Colleges Averted


Midyear cuts threatened for SUNY and CUNY community colleges have been averted thanks to vigorous and persuasive advocacy by NYSUT and its higher education affiliates.

As state lawmakers prepared to act on a deficit reduction plan Tuesday, NYSUT legislative staff were reporting that the union's concerted push on behalf of community colleges has staved off Gov. David Paterson's proposal to impose 10 percent midyear cuts on community colleges.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan Lubin reported that the union's message - that community colleges are needed more than ever in an economic downturn - found a receptive response from lawmakers, who refused to go along with mid-year cuts of $11 million at SUNY and $4.2 million at CUNY. "Now our work will focus on the governor's proposed cuts for the 2009-10 budget," Lubin said.

$1.6B Deal Closes Deficit

Current Budget Gap Filled
$13B Shortfall Looms in
2009-10 Spending Plan

by: James M. Odato and Irene Jay Liu

ALBANY -- In their first real test since taking control of state government, Democratic leaders passed budget bills Tuesday that will close the $1.6 billion budget deficit in the current fiscal year. At the same time, their actions raise concerns that closed-door dealmaking remains the status quo at the Capitol.

MTA Announces $30 Billion will be Needed Between 2010 and 2014 and Another $1.2 Billion to Offset the 2009 Shortfall.

Eight million New Yorkers who depend daily upon public transportation are facing a double-sided squeeze unless Albany takes aggressive action to bail out the struggling Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Steep fare rises and deep service cuts will occur unless the MTA's long-term capital plan is improved and the looming budget deficits are minimized.  BALCONY urges its members to act soon on this important issue, because if this crisis is not resolved by the end of March, the quality of life for metropolitan New Yorkers will be measurably diminished.  The Ravitch Commission on MTA Financing has studied this issue and has come up with some alternatives to the MTA claims that it will require over $30 billion between 2010 and 2014 for its capital program and another $1.2 billion for offsetting the 2009 shortfall.  The commission delivered the following report to Governor David A. Paterson.

Read the Report: MTA

Investments and Jobs for a Greener New York


Jerome Ringo, President, Apollo Alliance

"The new color of urban renewal is green," stated keynote speaker Jerome Ringo at a conference hosted by the New York City District Council of Carpenters and the Urban Agenda on Monday, February 2nd.  Mr. Ringo, president of the national Apollo Alliance, shared his thoughts on the new green-collar jobs plan and on how the pending economic stimulus will affect workers and job-seekers in New York City.  BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, has long backed the Apollo Alliance and the green programs that have emerged from the national energy self-sufficiency debate.  "Green collar jobs are the new highway to middle class stability, just as unionized blue and white collar jobs were right after World War II," said BALCONY director Lou Gordon.

Mr. Ringo, who worked in the Gulf Coast petrochemical industry for twenty years, primarily as a shop steward pressing issues of environmental justice and workplace safety, is the first African-American head of a national environmental organization.  He told of attending various events during the Obama Inauguration, where he heard Obama's loud and clear message, "Labor, Welcome back to Washington, D.C."

(click here for details)



 Mortgages from a New Perspective

On January 26th, Topdot Mortgage celebrated its 14th Anniversary. Founded in 1995 as a residential mortgage brokerage firm, the company has since emerged as one of the nation's largest, privately owned mortgage lender originating over $3 billion in residential mortgage loans annually.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

UnitedHealth Group Reaches Agreement to Settle Class Action Lawsuits Related to
Out-of-Network Reimbursement

MINNEAPOLIS (January 15, 2009) - UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) announced today that it has reached an agreement to settle class action litigation related to reimbursement for out-of-network medical services. The agreement resolves class action litigation filed on behalf of the American Medical Association (AMA), health plan members, health care providers and state medical societies.

(click here for details)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Greater New York Business Fair
Held at Madison Square Garden
April 23, 2009 

The Greater NY Chamber of Commerce in conjunction BALCONY and other local chambers and trade organizations throughout the Metro Region will on April 23rd host its 10th Business Fair and New York Networking Reception at Madison Square Garden from 1:30 PM until 6 PM.
Aetna Offers New Health Plans
for Small NYC Employers

Jan 04, 2009 -- Aetna announced that it has lowered the rates on its NYC Community Plan which offers health benefit plan options for your employees starting as low as $243 a month.

According to the company, it has listened to market feedback on the year-old NYC Community Plan. In addition to making the plan more affordable for more people, it has enhanced the offering with two new plan designs that include: lower hospital copays; generic-only pharmacy benefits with unlimited calendar year maximums; and discounted rates for brand drugs.

Open this e-Mail in Browser


 Click Here: Feb2009
e-mail broadcast produced by Kevin R. Weaver
$12 Billion Stimulus Plan Saves 435,000 Jobs and Strengthens
New York State Infrastructure

Dr. James Melius
Announces Stimulus Plan Support

The repair of New York State's infrastructure, the retention of existing jobs, and the creation of new jobs for working New Yorkers, are issues of imperative importance for BALCONY.  Thus, BALCONY has joined a broad coalition to "Keep New York Working."  Dr. James Melius, a BALCONY executive board member and the President of the New York Roadway Improvement Coalition, believes that," putting money towards crucial infrastructure projects will put New York back to work.  Our leaders are facing historically challenging choices when it comes to the fiscal crisis gripping our state, but the potential for jobs and economic activity this stimulus package includes a choice that can not be ignored." 

The Importance of Indian Point Power Plant to Westchester  Consumers 

The New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, a BALCONY member, recently examined the diverse energy sources that keep one critical New York county - Westchester -  powered up.  NY AREA, a coalition of energy providers and labor unions, further shows that oil and gas together provide almost 34% of New York's energy supply, nuclear power provides 31% and hydro-electric is at 18%. 

Say YES to Education


BALCONY is  pleased that Governor David Paterson is supporting the  Say Yes to Education program that provides college tuition for all  high school seniors in the Syracuse region.  This is a important program   at a time when it is making great strides in the instruction of all New York school children.  BALCONY is urging its members and friends to communicate directly with Governor David Paterson and the legislature to urge them to keep funding the Say Yes to Education program in the 2009-2010 budget. 

PEF Launches Second Ad Campaign
to Promote Alternatives to Governor's Attack on Middle Class


Albany - The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) has launched a second round of television, website and print advertisements in an effort to educate the public and convince legislative leaders there are better solutions to the governor's budget proposal.

PEF recognizes the seriousness of the current fiscal crisis, but the governor's budget would impose so many taxes and fees on middle class working New Yorkers and job cuts, pay and benefit cuts to state workers, that it would cost the state economy almost $2 billion.

BALCONY Spotlight 


BALCONY Addresses National Labor and Management Conference
BALCONY Co-Chair Alan Lubin and BALCONY Director Lou Gordon will address the 10th Annual National Labor and Management Conference,, on February 13th and February 14th. Joining them will be Vadam Lubarsky a health care policy expert representing BALCONY member the Marwood Group.  Lubin and Lubarsky, will address our Evolving Healthcare System, while Gordon will discuss BALCONY's role in building coalitions to support Infrastructure Initiatives.
Co-Chairman Alan Lubin
To Speak at National Higher Education Conference.

The National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions is hosting its 36th Annual National Conference on the topic, "Academic Bargaining in an Era of Constraint" on April 19-21, 2009 in New York City.  Among the featured speakers will be BALCONY Co-Chairman and NYSUT Executive Vice-President Alan Lubin, addressing the "Impact of the Presidential Election and New Congress on Public Higher Education."

For further information and registration, visit the NCSCBHEP website:  

Celebrate a Memory by
Giving Hope to Others


Your secure tax-deductible donation will remember a loved one and immediately support lifesaving cancer research, education, advocacy, and patient service programs.
Empire Page Logo2
Discounted Subscription for BALCONY members and friends to the Empire Page -- the ultimate source for news about NYS government & politics

 Learn more: click here 

BALCONY 2008-09
Members Directory

 Members Directory 2008-9

Our new eBook presents the
BALCONY Members Directory
in an exciting format!
Take the Virtual Tour!
Click on the image to access the directory.
Call, Write or Email BALCONY
633 Third Avenue, 16th Floor 
New York, NY 10017
Contact: Lou Gordon - BALCONY Director

BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, represents more than 1,000 New York businesses, labor unions, and trade associations. BALCONY seeks common ground in the public policy debate in New York to spur economic development through the adoption of business/union friendly, socially responsible common sense laws that maintain and improve the quality of life for working New Yorkers.