Press Release: 9/11 Reconstruction Watchdogs Issue Warning About Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding Plans
For Immediate Release, September 15, 2005
Contact: Greg LeRoy (GJF) 202-626-3780, ext 27, David Kallick (LCAN) 212-721-7164 Bettina Damiani (GJNY) 212-721-7996
9/11 Reconstruction Watchdogs Issue Warning About Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding Plans
Gulf Coast Leaders and Congress Urged to Consider Equity and Accountability As Recovery Plans are Laid
New York – Three watchdog groups, including two in New York that have monitored the post-9/11 reconstruction of Lower Manhattan, today cautioned Gulf Coast leaders members of Congress that they should closely monitor the design of Hurricane Katrina aid packages so that low- and moderate-income people, unemployed workers, and small businesses are treated fairly.
In New York, the groups warn, much of the $20 billion allocated for economic development has benefited real estate developers and wealthy neighborhoods.
The letter is at: www.reconstructionwatch.net . Their previous studies reveal that federal rebuilding subsidies have fueled gentrification and slighted the reemployment needs of low-income workers.
The groups are Good Jobs First (GJF, which promotes accountability in economic development nationwide), the Labor Community Advocacy Network (LCAN, a network of more than 60 New York groups coordinated by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research and education organization), and Good Jobs New York (GJNY, which has monitored post-9/11 monies through its Reconstruction Watch project).
“The survivors of Hurricane Katrina deserve better than a knee-jerk raft of tax breaks for big businesses that will ultimately shift the tax burden to small businesses and working families,” said Greg LeRoy of GJF and author of the new book The Great American Jobs Scam.
“After 9/11, rules that normally restrict federal economic funding to primarily benefit low- and moderate-income communities were stripped out, so that money could legally go to large businesses and wealthy neighborhoods,” said Bettina Damiani of GJNY. “As a result, these funds have yet to create any affordable housing or good new jobs for low-income residents of Lower Manhattan.”
"After four years of grassroots pressure, we're pleased that some money finally has been earmarked for affordable housing and neighborhood-level development," said David Dyssegaard Kallick of LCAN. "But that's a tiny portion of the total. From the start, this process has felt like a game of keep-away from low- and middle-income communities."
To avoid a replay of such outcomes, the groups urge legislators and residents to immediately organize a rebuilding plan that encourages broad public participation, strict rules targeting benefits to the most vulnerable survivors, and accountability safeguards.
# # #
Want to know who applied for a subsidy? Sign up for our "Subsidy Alert"
GJNY takes a close look at the proposed subsidy package--worth nearly $130 million--for Fresh Direct to relocate to the South Bronx. In early 2012, Fresh Direct started a bidding war between New York City and New Jersey officials when it threatened to leave its current home in Long Island City, Queens. Learn more about the subsidies, job promises and the efforts of residents to block the on-line grocery retailer's move to their waterfront.
As government aid begins to flow into areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Good Jobs New York will provide analysis and recommendations regarding these resources that promote a transparent and equitable allocation of funds that go to individuals and businesses that need it most.
Our database contains information on thousands of companies that received economic development subsidies in New York City.
Learn about major corporate giveaways to the financial industry, sports facilities and retail developments in New York City.