DINAPOLI SAYS FISCAL CLIFF COULD COST
NEW YORK STATE $43 BILLION
LIU OFFERS TO INVEST NYC PENSION FUNDS
BALCONY BREAKFAST FORUM: 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
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
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
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
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.
Gordon & Panel