Good Jobs New York: The Project

With sophisticated research and strategic technical assistance, Good Jobs New York assists New York City community leaders who want to learn about economic development projects in their neighborhoods; journalists seeking reliable information; and grassroots groups and elected officials hoping to improve specific deals and/or reform economic development policies.

To break down the information barriers that have traditionally excluded average New Yorkers from the process, GJNY issues a monthly “Subsidy Alert” to hundreds of New Yorkers, describing projects that will be considered at the next meeting of the NYC Industrial Development Agency and its sister body, the Capital Resources Corporation. (Contact us to receive the Alerts!)

GJNY has also compiled a Database of Deals. It includes information on the commitments subsidized corporations made in exchange for their tax breaks or low-interest loans and when possible, if such commitments were ever made. GJNY also provides information about accountability measures used by other cities and states. GJNY aims to educate New Yorkers about best practices and how they can enhance New York's economic development practice.

Good Jobs New York is proud of its decade-plus track record in improving transparency and accountability in NYC's economic development system.

Accomplishments

Since GJNY’s start in 2000, we have won significant procedural improvements that have enabled greater public participation in proposed economic development subsidy deals in New York City and stronger accountability in existing deals. Highlights include:

2000 – GJNY releases “Database of Deals,” the first compilation of announced commercial subsidy deals in New York City over $1 million.

2001 – In response to the billions of dollars in Federal funds allocated to New York after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, GJNY launches research and advocacy efforts to promote fair and effective use of economic development resources. GJNY releases reports on numerous financing proposals, the governance of and use of resources by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the various entities allocating Liberty Bonds for commercial and residential development.

2004 – Based on New York City Industrial Development Agency contracts never before disclosed, our report, “Know When to Fold`Em” uncovers the details in thirteen large corporate retention deals and shows that the public was often misled as to the number of jobs that were actually required to be created and that the agreements were often so porous, firms could lay workers off with little or no penalty.  In response, the New York City Council enacts a law that greatly improved the type of company-specific information required by the Industrial Development Agency’s annual report (Local Law 48).

2005 – The State Legislature closes a loophole in the Zone Equivalent Area program after GJNY reveals that a provision in the state budget would allow wealthy firms in Midtown Manhattan an additional five years of tax credits.

2007 – After years of researching the more than $1 billion in subsidies for a new Yankee Stadium, GJNY reveals the team submitted tens of thousands of dollars in ineligible rent deductions to the city’s Parks Department. In 2008, the Office of the City Comptroller releases an audit of these and other deductions and recoups $11 million from the team for NYC taxpayers.

2008 – The New York City Industrial Development Agency agrees to codify its public hearing process to provide: copies of proposed applications and the agency’s cost/benefit analysis six days in advance of the public hearing on the agency’s website. It also agrees to hold public hearings five calendar days before IDA board votes.

2010 – Two major transparency victories!  By administrative action, the IDA board approves increased transparency measures including access to cost/benefit analyses 12 calendar days in advance of hearings, plus audio web-casting of hearings and board meetings. By legislation, the City Council requires future IDA annual reports to include data on all projects receiving subsidies for each project's duration (previously disclosure expired after approximately seven years) and that the report must be downloadable in an Excel-like database.

Staff

Bettina Damiani, Project Director: 212.721.7996
Bettina(at)goodjobsfirst.org

Elizabeth Bird, Research Analyst: 212.721.4865
Elizabeth(at)goodjobsfirst.org

Partners

Good Jobs New York is a project of Good Jobs First based in Washington, DC, in partnership with the Fiscal Policy Institute with offices in Albany and New York City.


Good Jobs First is a national leader in providing timely, accurate information to the public, the media, public officials and development practitioners on state and local job subsidies. GJF works with a broad spectrum of organizations as they seek to ensure that businesses receiving development subsidies produce good jobs and are otherwise accountable to taxpayers.

The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization focusing on New York's tax, budget, economic and related public policy issues. Founded in 1991, FPI's work is intended to further the development and implementation of public policies that create a strong economy in which prosperity is broadly shared by all New Yorkers. FPI has offices in Albany and New York City.


Good Jobs New York
11 Park Place, #701
New York, NY 10007