August 25, 2020
Broad Coalition of Business and Civic Leaders Launch Campaign for New York’s Future to Create and Advocate for Bold Policy Solutions to Strengthen and Rebuild New York’s Economy
Founding Board Members Include Former Governor David A. Paterson, Former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr.,Executive Director of the Hospitality Association Andrew Rigie, President of Tech:NYC Julie Samuels, President of the NY Building Congress Carlo Scissura, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe, President of the Innovation Institute at Hospital for Special Surgery Leonard Achan, and Former Republican AG Nominee Keith Wofford
New York, NY – A broad array of New York civic leaders today announced the launch of the Campaign for NY’s Future (FutureNY), a new c4 organization that will fight for bold policy solutions confronting a city and state in crisis. The coalition will focus on comprehensive solutions that preserve and expand New York’s tax base, create new revenue opportunities for the restaurant, hospitality, and tourism industries, extend emergency assistance to small businesses – especially minority and women owned businesses (M/WBEs) – and enhance quality of life for all New Yorkers by filling vacant storefronts and dramatically expanding the number of pedestrian friendly streets across New York City.
FutureNY will be led by a diverse group of New Yorkers, including political leaders with deep experience helping New York recover from past economic crises such as former NY Governor David Paterson, Former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Former Council Speaker Peter Vallone, and Former Obama White House Urban Czar and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr., as well as industry and civic leaders including Julie Samuels (Founder and Executive Director, Tech:NYC), Andrew Rigie (Executive Director, NY Hospitality Alliance), Keith Wofford (Buffalo Native and Former Republican Nominee for Attorney General), Carlo Scissura (President, NY Building Congress), Julie Tighe (President, League of Conservation Voters), Regina Myer (President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership), Ester Fuchs (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs), Radhamés Rodriguez (President of United Bodegas of America), Leonard Achan (Hospital for Special Surgery), and Betsy Plum (Executive Director of the Riders Alliance).
FutureNY is inspired by New York’s vibrant history of business and civic leaders uniting during past fiscal crises that threatened New York’s vitality and economic future, including the 1970s financial crisis, the September 11th attacks, and the 2008 Great Recession. FutureNY will mount a multimillion-dollar advocacy, research, and advertising campaign to support its efforts, and will conduct outreach to small business owners and industry leaders across the state to identify the best policy solutions to solve New York’s current and future economic challenges.
Ensuring New York can accelerate its growth will be a monumental task. The Independent Budget Office is forecasting that the city will lose 564,000 jobs by year’s end and that only 150,000 will be recovered in the next three years. Women and minority owned businesses (M/WBEs) are suffering the most. In a NYC July survey of more than 500 city-certified M/WBEs, 85% said they will have to shutter their company within six months.
“New Yorkers are ready to make our city and state the envy of the world once again,” said the Hon. David A. Paterson. “We have the talent, the resources, and creativity to do it, but we need to adopt smart, bold policies that keep healthy businesses here and help struggling businesses rebuild. I’m proud to help lead such a broad and diverse coalition of New Yorkers that are incredibly passionate about getting to work to help New Yorkers get back on their feet.”
The Hon. C. Virginia Fields, former Borough President of Manhattan said, “We know that New York has the potential to come back stronger than ever. But we need to support common sense solutions that will help us get there–and resist the urge for bumper sticker proposals that could send us backwards. I’m proud to join this diverse coalition of prominent civic leaders, former elected officials and community groups to advance strategies that will put New York on a strong foundation for future growth.”
Adolfo Carrión, Jr., former White House Urban Affairs Czar (Obama) and Bronx Borough President said: “As a former elected official, urban planner, public school teacher and advocate for the Bronx, I know our folks are struggling right now. During my time as Borough President, we could not have turned the Bronx around without massive investment from the right private sector partners and a strong commitment from government and civic leaders. One billion dollars of investment later—and thanks to the work of thousands of committed Bronxites and New Yorkers—we set the borough on the path to success. But that progress is fragile, and the pandemic has challenged us like never before. We must bring together every stakeholder to make our city and our state a place where New Yorkers want to continue to live, welcome new people, and build for the future.”
Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone said, “Now is the time to once again put politics aside and find common ground in a truly bipartisan manner. We did it once before in the equally perilous time of the 1980’s, when Democrats and Republicans worked together to create safe streets/safe city. The greatest city in the world proved the almost impossible can be done and set the example for congress to follow. “
FutureNY will expand its policy agenda in the months to come by drawing upon the expertise of industry leaders, commissioning research, and soliciting ideas from the public on its website and through listening sessions. FutureNY’s initial policy agenda includes:
- Help restaurants and bars thrive long-term: Our hospitality and nightlife industries have been hit hard. We need to help these small business owners cultivate new revenue streams and expand their footprint, in part by creating permanent outdoor space and investing in new and innovative ideas to return them to profitability long-term.
- Preserve and expand NY’s tax base: Our schools, hospitals, and first responders all depend on tax revenues from businesses and individuals to keep our city moving. Today, a relatively small share of taxpayers support a high percentage of those revenues. In order to close our budget gap, we must retain those taxpayers, while at the same time, expanding our state and city’s tax base so that we’re less dependent on them. Making better use of even a fraction of an estimated $1.4 trillion in Manhattan street-space could generate billions of dollars in new tax revenue by allowing more restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses to make it a part of their daily or seasonal operations.
- Make NY home to the country’s largest public/private emergency grant fund for MWBES: FutureNY believes that central to New York’s recovery are strong, vibrant small businesses, especially MWBEs. That’s why as part of the campaign, FutureNY will push for lawmakers to create a $25-$50 million fund to extend emergency grants to small businesses, with a focus on MWBEs across New York. If adopted by lawmakers, the public and private sector could work together to extend unprecedented relief to the businesses and communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
- Create more open space for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and micro-mobility: Without reimagining our streetscapes in business districts across NYC, more commuters will use our central business districts as little more than an occasional workplace. The rapid adoption of permanent work from home policies at thousands of offices will only accelerate this trend. We can draw these commuters in for longer stays–and convert more of them into permanent residents–if we make economically viable and environmentally sustainable investments that make it easier for them and their families to explore and live in our city’s magnificent cityscape.
- Fill vacant storefronts: Occupied storefronts build stronger, safer, more vibrant communities. But even before the public health crisis, vacant storefronts littered our streetscapes. That’s because when a tenant leaves, property owners often choose to leave the property vacant rather than lower the rent to market rate. By creating new incentives for vacant storefronts and commercial space, we can help creative and essential businesses return to commercial areas, enhance public safety, and rebuild the type of unique communities that make NYC the most exhilarating place in the world to live.
- Take a statewide approach: Whether it’s the LIRR that brings people to their jobs, or the farms of Hudson Valley that supply our local food chain, our economy is linked from upstate to downstate. By sustaining our tax base and focusing on forward-thinking transit and environmental solutions we will contribute to a healthy statewide ecosystem.
Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance: “When 85% of bars and restaurants are unable to pay their rent in the country’s cultural capital, we know we are facing an economic problem of epic proportions. Business owners and workers have shown us such creativity and grit, cultivating a unique outdoor dining experience that New Yorkers love. Now it is time we work together to come up with long-term creative solutions to sustain this growth, or else risk losing the businesses that are the heart and soul of our communities.”
Julie Samuels, Founder and Executive Director of Tech:NYC: “We are seeing tech companies big and small staying committed to New York City because they know the New York’s business ecosystem is second-to-none. For our local economy to continue being the envy of the country, we need policies that will build on this success, not undo decades of hard work. That’s why I am joining this broad coalition.”
Carlo Scissura, President and CEO of the NY Building Congress: “The workers who build our neighborhoods and our iconic skyline are running out of jobs. They are literally building our future and we cannot afford to lose their skills to other cities. Now is the time to coordinate across industries and with our elected officials so that we are ready to ensure New York continues to reach for the sky.”
Julie Tighe, President of the NY League of Conservation Voters said, “We are happy to join the launch of FutureNY. The recovery from COVID-19 must include bold policies that will lead to a sustainable future. That means we need long-term solutions that address our economy, the way we move around, and the air we breathe. We are especially excited to work with the coalition to expand mobility and open space by reimagining the city’s streetscape. We look forward to working with everyone as our recovery begins.”
Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: “Downtown Brooklyn is a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential and retail destination. Covid-19 has delivered a hard blow to our community, but as New Yorkers, we know that we will come back stronger than ever. To do so, we must come up with a comprehensive plan that focuses on expanding open streets and other policies to keep NY business-friendly so our neighborhoods can thrive. I’m looking forward to the work this coalition will do to put the issues that matter to New Yorker’s front and center in the conversation.”
Ester Fuchs, Director of Urban and Social Policy at Columbia University’s SIPA said: “New York City is at an inflection point, but we’ve been here before. As Special Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg during his first term, I saw a City reeling from the economic and personal devastation of the 9/11 terrorist attack, a city that had lost 240,000 jobs between 2001 and 2002. With strong leadership from the mayor, the city developed an expansive view of economic development policy, positioning New York as a leading private-sector job creator. I know we can get through this crisis. We will do so by working together to keep government accountable to its people and businesses, diversifying job creation and workforce development and creating a more livable city for every family in every neighborhood. I am proud to join this diverse coalition that will give voice to the needs of all New Yorkers.”
Betsy Plum, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance said: “When it comes to moving around the city, New Yorkers know what they want. We want more open space, access to transit, expanded bike lanes and protected bus lanes. To get this city going again we will need to start with getting our people moving around as easily as possible. I am pleased to see an organization focused on bold ideas that puts at the center of the conversation a re-thinking of our urban planning and dependency on cars.”
Leonard Achan, RN, MA, ANP& President, Innovation Institute, Hospital for Special Surgery said: “Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans now understand all too well that public health and the economy are interconnected. Whether it’s the way new technologies such as telehealth impact the delivery of care, or how reduced tax revenues can severely impact the resources available to keep our hospitals and clinics running, we must articulate a vision for New York’s economic rebound that includes healthcare as a core component. I am proud to join the Campaign for NY’s Future to offer my expertise as a health practitioner and executive to help in this effort.”
Radhamés Rodríguez, President of United Bodegas of America said “As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who owned three grocery stores by the age of 21, I know what it’s like to be a small business owner who strives to achieve the American Dream. So many of our small businesses that provide the nourishment our communities need are getting left behind. Our elected leaders must do everything in their power to maintain a business-friendly environment in New York.”