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EDC's 5 Equitable Economic Development Priorities

June 30, 2015

Mayor de Blasio has made taking on income inequality a primary goal of his administration, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), will play a major role in shaping how that goal is met.

Five Equitable Economic Development Priorities for the New EDC President.

Mayor de Blasio has made taking on income inequality a primary goal of his administration, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), will play a major role in shaping how that goal is met.

In appointing Maria Torres Springer as new President of EDC, the Administration has chosen an excellent leader, with the experience and perspective to move the agency forward in its expanded mission of addressing income inequality. President Torres’ task is a critical one as she works to bridge the growing gap between the city’s poorest and wealthiest residents.

Much of EDC’s past strategies have focused on expanding the City’s tax-base, financially incentivizing big corporations to stay in the City, and diversifying the City’s economy. However, these efforts encouraged an increase in both low-wage service sector jobs and “knowledge economy” jobs – such as those within the tech, design or FIRE sectors. This has contributed a trend of major economic polarization and shrinking opportunities for middle- and working-class New Yorkers.

As EDC President, Torres-Springer must put into effect the policies and initiatives that advance the Mayor’s charge that New York needs equitable growth and quality jobs for all its neighborhoods and residents, not just a bigger tax base and jobs for the City’s top earners.

Here are five policy priorities that ANHD suggests for the new EDC President to better take on the challenge of Equitable Economic Development:

1. Link Workforce Development Training to Job Strategies: Workforce development and economic development have historically remained siloed. In order for the EDC to meet its goals to spur job growth and good economic development, it is vital that it bridges this gap. EDC needs to link individual economic development projects to training and earning opportunities specifically geared toward low-income New Yorkers.

  • EDC must expand the Administration’s already articulated commitment to focusing on high-impact job training and job placement with Industry Partnerships and Career Pathways.
  • Community-based organizations should play a central role in new local development by working to connect residents in their neighborhoods with specific skills and job opportunities.
  • Require clear on-ramps for large development projects through workforce development programs to ensure that local neighborhood residents and under-employed populations have entry to these City tax-payer funded job opportunities.

2. Strengthen the City’s Modern Urban Industrial Sector: As career ladders to middle class jobs continue to erode, protecting and expanding the City’s industrial and manufacturing sector must be a key equitable economic development goal. The New Industrial New York provides an integral entry point into stable, good employment with opportunities for career growth. The City’s growing industrial sector is home to 200,000 good jobs and provides an entry into the middle class for New Yorkers with limited access to educational and career opportunities afforded to those employed within the knowledge economy. It is vital that EDC take steps to promote industrial development in New York, and ensure that industrial development is prioritized and protected.

  • EDC must ensure that new residential developments do not encroach on existing industrial land and critical jobs.
  • Expand dedicated funding programs for projects that enhance the vitality of the industrial sector in New York City. This includes a program devoted to supporting nonprofit development of industrial and manufacturing land, and reinvesting funds collected from industrial land assets directly back into the industrial sector.
  • EDC must act as an advocate for Industrial Business Service Providers (IBSPs) by fast tracking IBSP applications across the city to ensure providers receive funding in a timely manner and have the opportunity to contend in an increasingly competitive real estate market.
  • Allocate resources such as New Markets Tax Credits to projects that will create and retain local jobs.

3. Support Small Businesses as Economic Engines in the Most In-Need Communities: The role of small businesses as the centerpiece of economic growth and vitality in many of our most in-need communities in often overlooked in comparison to the larger economic development methods. As former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, Torres-Springer is well versed in the role and needs of New York’s small business owners and employees. As President of EDC, Torres-Springer must reintegrate small-business as an economic development driver and not just a sub-sector of the economy, by investing in and supporting small business in the communities and neighborhoods where they are especially crucial in providing much-needed economic opportunities.

  • Allocate the City’s economic development investment dollars go as much towards investing in our community’s Main Streets as economic engines for neighborhoods as we do Wall Street and Midtown.
  • EDC must continue Torres-Springer’s focus on growing immigrant, minority, and women-owned business during her tenure as Commissioner at SBS. This includes prioritizing contracts with MWBE entities; ensuring language access for opportunities, and targeting business incubators initiatives to immigrant, minority, and women entrepreneurs.
  • Continue to strengthen its relationship with the Department of Small Business Services, providing SBS with additional resources in order to better serve the needs of its constituents.
  • Develop new policies that specifically support the economic stability and viability of small “mom and pop” businesses impacted by neighborhood rezoning and redevelopment. These local homegrown businesses that are integral to the neighborhood and EDC must address the economic impacts of the displacement or shuttering of the businesses due to pending development proposals and rent pressures.

4. Increase transparency in all of EDCs funding and contracts: EDC has taken great strides in improving transparency over the past few years, but still has much work to do. It is the responsibility of the incoming president to maintain and improve upon transparency. City residents, community organizations, and elected officials should be able to clearly understand the activities, initiatives, and investments by EDC and their economic impacts and outcomes.

  • EDC must ensure that companies that receive tax-exempt financing meet their job creation and retention goals.
  • EDC must also ensure that companies that have failed to meet these requirements are penalized. Companies that receive tax breaks and do not meet their role as economic catalyzers and engines of job creation should have a moratorium placed on EDC contract eligibility.
  • All EDC development projects should clearly state expected job growth, including the projected number of full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs, number of jobs by wage tier, the number of construction development related jobs, and the number of permanent post-construction jobs.
  • EDC must continue to enforce claw-back agreements so tax payer dollars are recaptured if companies fail to meet the economic development conditions required of them.

5. Strengthen community ties – Work alongside neighborhood groups: All of EDCs projects are being developed in neighborhoods with active and vibrant community voices. We cannot repeat mistakes of the past where the community’s voices, role, and opportunities in local EDC projects were an afterthought. President Torres-Springer must shift EDC’s understanding and appreciation of the value and role of local communities to Equitable Economic Development.

  • Ensure a streamlined process for meeting and engaging with community groups and nonprofits as new developments that have significant neighborhood impact are negotiated.
  • Engage with local residents and organizations to ensure projects create job opportunities and career ladders for existing local residents and businesses. Create new opportunities for local communities to develop and shape EDC initiatives to address community driven needs in economic development.

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