: December 6th
(videos by Suggs Media Productions)
(photos by Tom Buckner)


BALCONY's December 6th breakfast forum on "The Impact of Wall Street and Hurricane Sandy on the New York City and State Economy," featuring New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller John Liu, was a rousing success in every sense of the word.


More than 130 guests including reporters from news organizations such as NY1, The Daily News, Reuters, City & State and WNYC packed the ballroom at BALCONY's headquarters, 4 W. 43d St. The two Comptrollers and other prominent speakers discussed Hurricane Sandy's impact, the impact of Wall Street, and the impact of the Fiscal Cliff on New York's economy. 


"We are very pleased with the turnout and with the positive reaction to BALCONY's mission of finding common ground between business and labor," BALCONY Director Lou Gordon said. "We are also grateful to the Comptrollers, panelists and guest speakers for graciously participating in this event." (video)



BALCONY Co-Chair Alan Lubin kicked off the forum by introducing DiNapoli, who presented his Wall Street report, along with a report on "Impact of the 'Fiscal Cliff' on New York State" which could cost $43 billion. He also provided an analysis of the impact of Superstorm Sandy on New York. He said the total cost of rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy could reach $42 billion.



"This is a very challenging time," DiNapoli began, in assessing New York's financial picture. "We are still digging out from the wreckage of the 2008 financial collapse and the recession. There are more positive signs than negative signs, but our recovery will take a great deal of time." (video)



He said Wall Street is recovering from "significant losses" in the second half of 2011, caused partly by the financial crisis in Europe. 


"The outlook for this year, 2012, on Wall Street is good,"
DiNapoli said, noting that 14% of all state tax revenue comes from Wall Street, and that 1 in 7 jobs in New York City are connected to Wall Street.


Click here for the text of DiNapoli's speech.


"We estimate Wall Street will make more the $20 billion in profits this year," DiNapoli Stated said. "I want to see Wall Street profitable, but I would like to see a steady, stable model and avoid the peaks and valleys."


While Wall Street's cash flow is good, DiNapoli said that only 30% of the financial sector jobs lost in the recession have been added back. The financial sector has 170,000 jobs, which is 20,000 fewer than before the recession.


DiNapoli predicted that the impact of going over the so-called fiscal cliff would result in dramatic changes to the tax structure, which would kick in Jan. 1, 2013. Unless Congress acts, the impact of going over the fiscal cliff will have disastrous results for New Yorkers. DiNapoli further stated that going over the cliff could cost New Yorkers $43 billion in tax hikes and mean the loss of $609 million in aid to education, housing and health and human services. 


In addition to possible cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax would cost New Yorkers $20 billion next year 2013 , or an average of $5,180 per taxpayer. "The middle class and small businesses, especially in New York, would be hurt tremendously if Congress does not act on the fiscal cliff," the state comptroller concluded. 

City Comptroller Liu added that the looming fiscal cliff is already "leading to slowdowns in investment and slowdowns in hiring. (video)

He has estimated that Hurricane Sandy has been costing New York some $200 million a day in economic damage, and that while the total rebuilding cost has yet to be determined, he said that the impact on small businesses would be disproportionately worse than the effect on large corporations.

He said the city has issued $500 million in bonds for school repairs and added that while rebuilding could create 25,000 jobs, "they must be good jobs and must conform to the living wage and prevailing wage laws.

Liu further offered to invest New York City Pension Funds in the effort to rebuild impacted communities in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island Manhattan and the Bronx.

Expert panelists on finance, climate change, labor unions, human needs, litigation, and small business were featured at the BALCONY forum.

1. Tony Haymet, Special Advisor, Pegasus Capital, presented information about climate change and how to prepare for future Hurricanes (video)

Haymet, a climatologist from the University of San Diego, explained the increasing warmth of sea water. These conditions and climate change itself require a different way of rebuilding our infrastructure. The probability that we will have another superstorm like Sandy next year is exactly the same as it was this year," Haymet said.

2 . Susan Kent, President, Public Employees Federation, discussed the need to rebuild affordable middle-class housing (video)

PEF President Susan Kent said labor and business should be involved in discussing what should be rebuilt - and how.

3 . The Rev. Michel Faulkner, Institute for Leadership, spoke of the human impact of Sandy (video)

Reverend Michel Faulkner said faith-based groups need to be involved in helping people who have been devastated.

"It's important that we be a part of this because faith-based groups and non-profits get hit first when there are economic cuts," he said. "We must join forces and work together."

4 . Barry Weprin, Partner Milberg LLP, talked about litigation efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy (video)

Barry Weprin said it was too early to tell how much litigation would arise from Sandy.

5 . Mark Jaffe, President, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the impact of Sandy on small business (video).

Mark Jaffe said the bulk of the rebuilding money will go to big corporations and large contractors. "A lot of small businesses will not get back all of the money they lost," he said, adding that small businesses and labor must find common ground to work together. "You can't run a business without labor."

Click here for the video of the Q&A Session.



John C. Liu
NYC Comptroller


Lou Gordon & Panel
BALCONY Director


Thomas P. DiNapoli
NYS Comptroller





DiNapoli's Presentation (text): DiNapoli

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Click here for VIDEOS




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4 West 43rd Street, Suite 405
New York, NY 10036
www.balconynewyork.com (212) 219-7777

Lou Gordon, Director





Alan Lubin, Co-Chair Labor
Robert M. Hayes, Co-Chair Business, Sr. VP, Universal American Corp.
Catherine M. Abate, Co-Chair Non-Profit, President/CEO, Community HealthCare Network

Executive Board

Anthony Potenza, Executive Director, New York Labor Health Care Alliance
Anita Kartalopoulos, Partner, Milberg LLP

Cynthia D. DiBartolo, Tigress Financial Partners
Mark Jaffe, BALCONY Treasurer; President, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
Bruce Ventimiglia, Saratoga Capital Management

BALCONY Support Team

Lou Gordon, BALCONY Director
Richard Winsten, Counsel, MSEK
Stuart Marques, BALCONY Writer
Diane Masters, BALCONY Director of Special Projects
Haya Kramer, BALCONY Development Consultant
Kevin R. Weaver, Web Master and Computer Consultant

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