Focus on Economic Issues Is Necessary To Citywide Equity
ANHD applauds Mayor de Blasio’s call for more good jobs in the City in this year’s State of the City address.
Having long recognized that “no housing is affordable without a good paying job,” ANHD supports the Administration’s focus on creating good paying jobs, which it defined as jobs paying over $50,000 a year. We also believe it is critical that these new jobs be directly connected to current unemployed, underemployed, and low- to moderate-income New Yorkers who are looking for opportunities to help move into the middle class.
In order for this commitment of more good jobs in the City to be realized, it is important to consider how key questions in the weeks and months ahead will be answered.
What kinds of jobs are being created, and for whom?
Too often, the promise of job creation has been limited to the production of either low-wage work or high-wage jobs with high-barriers to entry. While these positions do satisfy the goals and quotas of increased employment, they have either not paid well enough to provide sustainable wages or have barriers to entry which make them inaccessible to many low- and moderate-income New Yorkers who struggle to remain in this City. We look forward to working with the Administration in creating 140,000 well-paying new employment opportunities over the next decade. We also hope that the Administration will go further in connecting these opportunities to the neighborhoods and communities that need them most through partnerships with community organizations and robust job training and placement programs, especially as the promise of new development unfolds citywide.
How do we preserve the cultural identity of our neighborhoods?
Many New Yorkers take economic opportunity into their own hands and start their own businesses. Many of these local businesses, run by immigrants and sustained over decades, contribute to the cultural identity of a neighborhood. As gentrification and displacement continue to threaten community based small businesses, ANHD applauds the City’s new Love Your Local program as a way to preserve and ensure the long-term existence of these community pillars. Considered alongside the recent City Council push to advance Nuisance Abatement reform – which protects immigrant and people of color owned small business tenants from criminalization and displacement through NYPD court orders – the City is taking necessary steps to back Mayor de Blasio’s reassurance to our small businesses that “this is your city”.
Will the commitment to good jobs extend beyond city-owned sites?
The City’s commitment to invest in City-owned Sunset Industrial Park was first outlined in its 2015 Industrial Action Plan, also under the banner of creating more good paying jobs. While the City investing in its own industrial assets is crucial to nurturing economic opportunity, it misses the opportunity to create good jobs on industrial land more broadly. The City’s 21 Industrial Business Zones provide a wider network for creating more of the exact kinds of jobs the Mayor described in his speech. Many of the ways the City can tap into this resource were highlighted in the 2015 plan; the Administration need only advance those commitments in 2017.
ANHD commends the Mayor for using his State of the City speech to address equity. Questions remain on the specifics of how to achieve the goals presented in his speech, and we look forward to working with the Administration to advancing the right answers.