More than 60 members of the Partnership for New York City issued a letter to leaders of the State Senate and Assembly, urging them to support the Governor’s Parental Choice in Education Act. The Act makes $150 million in state tax credits available to parents and private donors who help offset the cost of tuition at non-public schools, to educators purchasing classroom materials, and to donors who contribute to educational improvement programs in public schools. The signatories, all of whom are CEOs of some of the city’s largest employers, said that the bill would lead to more school choice options for children of middle and lower income households.
“We should be opening as many educational doors as possible for our city’s children, and the Governor’s proposal will do just that. It will increase the number of school options for families – particularly lower- and middle-income households – by encouraging increased giving that will help cover tuition costs at non-public schools,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
Signatories included: Philippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.; James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley; Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, 21st Century Fox; Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express Company; Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman & Co-CEO, Tishman Speyer; Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc.; and Laurence D. Fink, Chairman & CEO, BlackRock, Inc.
The signatories said, “We view state incentives for a greater diversity of educational options and partnerships with local employers as having only positive benefits for our city and state as we seek to ensure New York has people with the talent and skills required to excel in an increasingly competitive global economy.”
“The approval of a public-private partnership to redevelop LaGuardia is welcome news for business travelers and tourists alike. Hopefully construction will proceed quickly and mark major progress toward achieving Governor Cuomo’s vision of a truly modern and attractive airport system connecting New York City to the world.”
Failure to Enact Extension of Mayoral Control Will Throw New York City’s Public Education System into Chaos
In a strong letter to leaders of the State Senate and Assembly, CEO members of the Partnership for New York City today urged legislative action to maintain mayoral control of the city school system – a governance system that expires in June – for at least three years. Failure to act would mean the city legally reverts to the old Board of Education and community school boards, which presided over the deterioration of public education in the five boroughs. The letter, which was signed by 72 CEOs, said, “Failure to enact this extension before the end of June will throw New York City’s public education system into chaos. There is no justification for exposing more than a million students to the turmoil that would result from the expiration of a system that has served our city well for thirteen years.”
Mayoral control of city schools was implemented in 2002 with the help and support of the Partnership for New York City. It replaced a dysfunctional and highly politicized system of central and community school boards with a governance system that holds the Mayor accountable for running the city schools. The Assembly recently passed a three-year extension of mayoral control and the State Senate introduced a bill on Tuesday to extend mayoral control for one year.
“Maintaining mayoral control of city schools is critical to students, parents and employers who all depend on high quality public schools,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “Mayoral control has created a better, more transparent governance system than existed in the past – attendance has improved, graduation rates are up, and students are performing better on tests. The results clearly demonstrate that mayoral control is working and should be continued.”
The signatories also pledged their support for expanding the number of charter schools that can be established in New York State.
Signatories of the letter included: Philippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.; James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley; Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express Company; Jerry I. Speyer, Chairman & Co-CEO, Tishman Speyer; Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc.; Laurence D. Fink, Chairman & CEO, BlackRock, Inc.; and Kevin P. Ryan, Chairman & Founder, Gilt.
“The Commercial Rent Tax is a tax on job creators that should be eliminated. Reducing the tax for businesses that pay less than $500,000 in annual rent, while increasing it for those that pay rents in excess of $3 million, as proposed in a bill authored by City Council members Dan Garodnick and Helen Rosenthal, results in a perverse incentive for Manhattan employers to stay small. A better approach would be to phase out the tax in a manner that favors job creation. Under the bill introduced today, a small investment firm that occupies less than 2,500 square feet in Manhattan and has a half dozen employees would get a substantial tax reduction, while a retailer that employs hundreds of New Yorkers would see a tax increase. The Council members who propose the tax increase consider it inconsequential, but taxpayers react very differently. If enacted, this bill suggests that the city will raise business taxes regardless of whether they need the money – which currently they do not – and that will have a chilling effect on job growth.”
“The Senate’s vote to advance the President’s trade agenda is a major victory for New York, which stands to benefit greatly from expanded global trade activity. Already 25% of merchandise exports from the New York City metropolitan region are purchased by consumers in countries included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and clearing the path for new international trade agreements should result in an increase in exports, jobs and economic activity. New York’s representatives in the House should follow the Senate’s lead and pass this bill without delay.”
In May, nearly 100 members of the Partnership for New York City, an organization made up of New York City’s top business leaders, issued a letter to the entire New York State Congressional delegation pressing for support of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA). TPA gives the President the authority he needs to secure the advantages that trade initiatives will bring to American business and workers. Signatories included: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman & CEO, Goldman Sachs & Co.; Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express Company; Philippe P. Dauman, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.; James Dimon, Chairman & CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; James P. Gorman, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Stanley; and K. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, 21st Century Fox.
“New York City is alone in imposing a local commercial rent tax – a 6% tax on rents for Manhattan office and retail space that are already the most expensive and heavily taxed properties in the country. The city lost more than 100,000 middle wage jobs between 2008 and 2013, and the high cost of office space is a primary reason. If the City Council wants to help save those jobs, it should eliminate the commercial rent tax for all employers. Job-saving tax relief cannot be for just ‘small’ businesses. Fifty-one percent of the city’s private sector jobs are with companies that have 500 or more employees and are most likely to have their rent tax raised under this proposed legislation. City government is projecting a multi-billion dollar tax revenue surplus over the next few years. This is a moment when the city can afford to get rid of the rent tax across the board, so that employers can afford to keep good jobs here.”
“By blocking this trade deal, the Senate is putting partisan politics ahead of smart policy. New York stands to be one of the leading beneficiaries of new international trade agreements, so the state comes out a loser if we don’t support the President’s push. The Senate plans to re-visit this proposal in the near future, and the business community is imploring those who voted ‘no’ to reconsider.”
“The impact of New York State’s advertising campaigns, including START-UP NY, should be measured in terms of general promotion of the state as a place to invest and do business, not simply by the early results of a single new program that is just getting started and shows great promise. It is easy to underestimate the challenge of changing the global perception of New York as an over-taxed and hostile business environment. The ad campaigns have gone a long way toward changing negative perceptions and the Cuomo administration has created a menu of opportunities, including START-UP NY, to capture the momentum of interest generated among job creators and investors to benefit our struggling state economy.”
“The business community supports the Mayor’s focus on addressing the city’s long-term infrastructure needs in his budget, including major Capital commitments to affordable housing and transportation improvements. If the city invests in high quality infrastructure, public safety and education, the private sector will continue to create jobs and build our economy.”
“In this age of high-tech, employers are screening job applicants more carefully, particularly for positions that have access to proprietary information and customer data. Credit checks are one of many tools that companies use to protect themselves and their customers from potential losses. Constructive negotiations with the de Blasio administration and the City Council resulted in a bill that strikes an important balance, enabling employers to conduct credit checks for the most sensitive job openings while reducing chances that a poor credit history will unfairly disqualify job candidates. Moving forward, it is important to monitor the cost and consequences of this and other new laws that limit the discretion of New York City employers in their hiring decisions.”