Expert Roundtable: Municipal Unions

Written by City & State on . Posted in Features, Labor/Unions, News, Spotlight

Tom DiNapoli New York State Comptroller Q: Your concerns about the governor’s plan to smooth out pension costs led to changes. What made the proposal more acceptable? TD: My responsibility, as the fiduciary of the [state’s pension] fund, is to ensure that the pension system is properly funded so that benefits can be paid to retirees. That’s why I recommended a variation of the existing program that was enacted in 2010. This program has given local governments flexibility while continuing… [More]

The Five Borough Ballot – Upper West Side: Jobs, Affordable Housing and … Etiquette?

Written by Aaron Short on . Posted in Economic Development, Five Borough Ballot, Manhattan, Spotlight

Going out to a delicatessen for brunch is a distinctly New York City tradition.The ritual survives on the Upper West Side despite the financial pressures of the moment—worries about the city’s rising costs of living and stagnant wages, the slow reduction of entitlements for seniors, and a sense that under the next mayor—whoever it might be—the grime and chaos of yore could return to the streets after 12 years of Bloombergian order. That being said, the customers at Artie’s Deli… [More]

Spotlight: Roundtable on Banking & Financial Services

Written by City & State on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Budget/Taxes, Spotlight

Eric Schneiderman New York State Attorney General Q: What is your top priority on issues related to banking and financial services?  ES: Public confidence was severely damaged not only by the financial crisis of 2008 but by the apparent lack of accountability in the aftermath of the crash. In light of the parade of new financial-sector scandals, a recent Gallup poll found that only 18 percent of Americans have a lot of confidence in U.S. banks, which is a new… [More]

No-Fault Lines

Written by Laura Nahmias on . Posted in Banking/Insurance, Government Operations, News, Spotlight

Will Further Regulations on No-Fault Insurance Cure the Problem? Just weeks after New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services, Ben Lawsky, announced a spate of new regulations designed to address no-fault insurance fraud, Allstate Insurance filed a $29.9 million civil suit against a fraud ring of doctors, acupuncturists and runners accused of staging car accidents to take advantage of the state’s no-fault insurance laws. The suit seemed to focus attention on a problem that lawmakers said has been growing for years,… [More]

Spotlight: Environment

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Environment, News, Spotlight

JOE MARTENS Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Q: What is the time frame for the state’s review of hydrofracking? JM: We have a mountain of comments that have been sorted, categorized by subject areas, and distributed to staff, affecting probably five divisions here at DEC. When I say a mountain, it really is a mountain of comments. The volume of 66,000 comments is just huge. There are lots of boxes. Staff has started not just reviewing them… [More]

Expert Roundtable: Affordable Housing

Written by Adam Lisberg on . Posted in Housing, News, Real Estate/Construction, Spotlight

Catharine Young Senate Housing Committee Chairwoman Q: What are your priorities for the coming session? CY: One of my priorities is stimulating growth in the affordable-housing sector through tax incentives or zoning incentives such as a fully refundable housing tax credit. Last year we worked on a bifurcation bill which would have split the state and federal housing tax credits to make them more appealing to private investors. It’s something I think would have great economic and social benefits. I… [More]

Justice And The Rent Laws

Written by Adam Lisberg on . Posted in Housing, Real Estate/Construction, Spotlight

Supreme Court challenge will likely fail, but still nobody’s happy One million apartments in New York City charge lower rent than they would on the free market. For millions of New Yorkers, it’s a fact of life—one that makes winners and losers out of both tenants and building owners, but one that they all live with. Except for James Harmon. The owner of an Upper West Side townhouse with three market-rate tenants and three rentregulated ones, he has asked the… [More]

Brick By Brick

Written by Adam Lisberg on . Posted in Housing, Real Estate/Construction, Spotlight

New York City’s affordable-housing system works—but it’s complicated At a City Council hearing last week, two union leaders with concerns about New York City’s affordable-housing programs wanted to make a point. So they drew up enormous charts showing just how complicated the system is. The first one alone had 29 arrows linking seven public agencies, six housing developers and two private companies— all to build one project. “What you’re seeing here is sort of inherent to the affordable-housing world,” city… [More]

Long Labor’s Right Hand Man, Cilento Steps Into the Spotlight

Written by Chris Bragg on . Posted in Blog, Spotlight

For nearly two decades, Mario Cilento has been a key behind-the-scenes player at the New York AFL-CIO, the state’s umbrella labor organization, which is responsible for pushing a common agenda among the state’s public, private, and building trades unions. When longtime AFL-CIO president Denis Hughes retired in December, Cilento, who was serving as the group’s chief of staff, was quickly tapped by its executive committee to lead the 2.5 million member organization. During an interview at the AFL-CIO offices in… [More]