Partnership Fund portfolio company New York Business Development Corporation will participate in City’s “WE Fund: Growth” initiative

Resource Type: Fund News, Partnership Fund

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a first-of-its-kind targeted loan program that will make more than $5 million in affordable capital accessible to women entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses. WE Fund: Growth is designed to overcome barriers faced by women seeking to grow their businesses.

Partnership Fund portfolio company New York Business Development Corporation is partnering with the City of New York to help disperse loans between $25,000 and $125,000.

Read the release here

Testimony on New York City Council Int. 723 requiring sightseeing bus operators to submit operating plans to the DOT

Resource Type: News, Testimony

The following testimony was submitted on behalf of Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

Thank you Chair Espinal and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify on Int. 723, sponsored by the Speaker. The Partnership for New York City represents the city’s business leaders and largest private sector employers working to enhance the economy of the five boroughs of New York City and maintain the city’s position as the pre-eminent global center of commerce, innovation and economic opportunity.

The Partnership recognizes the important contributions of the tourism industry to New York City. At the same time, we question the economic value of sightseeing buses, specifically in Manhattan south of 60th Street, during the business week. In December, 2017, the Partnership released a study of the cost of traffic congestion that identified $20 billion a year in economic losses and costs due to congestion that is largely generated by traffic to and from the central business districts of Manhattan. While our study did not quantify the extent to which tour buses contribute to the congestion problem, there is ample anecdotal evidence that their negative impact is substantial. Moreover, there is no credible, independent study that has determined that tour buses are a net contributor to the city economy.

The Manhattan central business districts should be off-limits to tour buses since the streets do not have capacity to handle them. There is inadequate curbside space and nowhere for these buses to park on weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are plenty of alternative means of transportation for visitors seeking to move around Manhattan, including MTA transit, new ferry and bike services, as well as taxies, liveries and for-hire vehicles.

Conditions in Manhattan streets are not suited to sightseeing bus activity. The average speed of vehicular travel in the central business district is only 6.8 miles per hour – a situation that gets worse every year. The sidewalks that buses use for passenger waiting, loading and unloading are equally as congested as the streets.

There are serious safety and air quality concerns associated with sightseeing buses, which regularly stop at unauthorized locations and are often seen idling at the curb. The common practice of “stacking” buses at popular sites takes up multiple lanes on overcrowded streets. These problems are most acute in neighborhoods with a confluence of tourist attractions, a high density of people and vehicles, and narrow streets and sidewalks. Int. 723 is a first step toward assessment of the value of the tour bus industry, hopefully paving the way for stricter regulation of its activity. If passed, it would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to authorize where buses can stop. DOT would be empowered to collect bus location data to help with these decisions and could attach conditions to the authorization of stops. Violations could be grounds for license revocation.

Governor Cuomo’s Fix NYC panel, which recommended better traffic management and congestion pricing, specifically identified the need to study the negative contribution of tour buses to the high cost of traffic congestion. We suggest such a study be undertaken and that, in the interim, there be a reduction of authorized buses navigating Manhattan south of 60th Street during weekday business hours. The Partnership looks forward to working with the Council on this issue.

Thank you.

Partnership Fund Portfolio Company Digital Reasoning Raises $30 Million Led by BNP Paribas

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

Digital Reasoning, a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that understands human intentions and behaviors, today announced that it has raised $30 million in new funding. BNP Paribas led the round and Angel Rodriguez-Issa, Global Head of Strategic Investments, Global Markets at BNP Paribas, has joined Digital Reasoning’s board of directors.

The Partnership Fund made an additional investment in Digital Reasoning as part of this round.

Read the full release

Statement from Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, At the Gateway Program Development Corporation Regular Meeting

Resource Type: News, Statements

“The Partnership for New York City represents the city’s business leaders and largest private sector employers. We work together with government, labor and the nonprofit sector to promote economic growth and job creation in New York.

Cross Hudson access is a critical issue for the New York City business community. Half of the jobs in the city are at companies with more than 500 employees. Virtually all these large companies have business operations and employees who live on both sides of the Hudson River. Based on our analysis, every hour delay on New Jersey Transit costs New York business $5.9 million. The economic consequences of a failure in the 100 year old tunnels would be enormous for both the affected businesses and for our entire region.

The recurring delays and problems with current cross-Hudson access are evidence the North River Tunnels cannot handle the 100 percent ridership increase that is expected by 2040. This is a national issue because our region generates 9 percent of the economic output for the entire country.  The Hudson tunnels connect the nation’s most important financial and commercial center with the rest of America.

The elected leadership of New York and New Jersey, our Congressional delegations, transit advocates and business leaders are committed to doing everything in their powers to move the Gateway project forward. Hopefully, the White House and Congress will agree to a new national infrastructure initiative that is aggressive enough to fund critical projects, including Gateway. We are prepared to mobilize the expertise and private capital needed to launch a national rebuilding program, assuming the White House and Congress can agree on its terms. This is clearly a necessity for America’s future as a global economic power and should be the top priority of the federal government in 2018.”

The Partnership Fund and Accenture release report “Mind the Gap: Addressing Challenges to Fintech Adoption”

Resource Type: Fund News, Partnership Fund

“After nearly a decade of growth for the fintech sector, it has taken a foothold in financial services. The ability to quickly adopt external innovation is creating competitive advantages for financial services companies. Entrepreneurial fintechs decreasingly see themselves as competitors with large financial institutions, but rather as partners in a large, highly regulated marketplace. Financial institutions and entrepreneurs all stand to benefit if they get the interaction right. The fast pace of technology advancement only underscores the importance of getting fintech adoption right.

It is also apparent, however, that collaboration between financial institutions and fintechs remains a challenging and time-consuming process. Tactical hurdles are slowing smooth and efficient technology adoption by established financial service providers. The questions are: Why? What’s occurring? And what can be done to increase alignment to realize mutual benefits?

To learn the answers, the fintech innovation lab took advantage of its unique window into both the major financial companies who serve as Lab sponsors and the entrepreneurs who have gone through the mentoring program.

Read the Full Report

New York City Council Testimony on the Impact of the Federal Tax Law on New York City

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On February 26, 2018, Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, testified to the New York City Council on the impact of the federal tax law on New York City. Below is a summary of her comments.

“As the nation’s business and real estate capital, New York City can expect to benefit from federal tax reform, particularly the reduction of corporate tax rates and of taxes on repatriation of profits from overseas operations. Many corporations have already announced plans to dedicate a portion of tax savings to salary increases for lower wage employees, additional employee bonuses and expanded investment in the U.S. But not all businesses are realizing equal benefits.  For example, partnerships like legal and accounting firms and boutique investment banks and venture capital firms—all major employers in the city—are not getting the tax advantages of so-called pass-through entities under the new law. And many implications of the law are still not fully understood.

The biggest negative impact for the city is the loss of state and local tax deductibility for individual taxpayers, specifically capping those deductions at $10,000.  As a result, residents of New York and nine other states with high property and personal income taxes will not see the same tax reductions as tax filers in lower tax states. On the contrary, some highly compensated New York employees — think Wall Street, corporate executives, tech entrepreneurs, entertainers, hospital administrators and doctors—will see a tax increase.

Contrary to some political rhetoric, the Trump tax reform is probably going to lower the taxes of most low- and middle-income households, although not as much here in New York as in other states. Our Partnership analysis shows that the typical New York single taxpayer earning more than $500,000 and married taxpayer earning more than $750,000 will have a bigger tax obligation because of the inability to deduct state and local income and property taxes.

There are about 60,000 tax filers who earn over $1 million in the state, most of whom will be paying between 52 and 57 percent of their marginal income to the government, with the highest tax burden falling on residents of New York City and its suburbs.

The taxpayers our city and state rely on for most of their revenues are severely impacted. The top one percent of tax filers—city residents who earn more than $700,000—account for 49 percent of all city income tax revenues and also generate significant economic activity through their spending power. These are 37,200 households out of 3.7 million total income tax filers.

There is also a competitiveness issue. New York residents whose taxes are not actually increasing under the new law—due to lower rates, the child tax credit, and higher standard deduction—will still fare worse than residents of most other states.  An average family of four earning $175,000 will pay 25 percent of their income in taxes in New York, but only 14 percent if they reside in Florida. For the family earning $750,000, 40 percent of their income will be spent on taxes in New York versus 30 percent in Florida.

So the federal tax law will help our businesses compete in global markets, but it will make it more difficult and more expensive for them to recruit and retain top talent. Employers in key industries are calculating how to respond to this challenge— should they increase compensation to offset the tax burden, or should they relocate jobs to London, Asia, or lower-taxed American cities? In short, New York will be the global commercial center with the highest income tax rates in the world on its top earners. This will make it more expensive for employers to attract talent to the city and for entrepreneurs to build businesses here.

It is important that leaders in city and state government demonstrate their understanding of these issues. Governor Cuomo has included measures in his executive budget that attempt to offer some relief to those who will be most impacted by personal income tax increases. This is the right message to send to employers and taxpayers.  On the other hand, proposals coming out of some quarters for another millionaire’s tax or other tax increases on high earners put the city and state in jeopardy of significant revenue and job losses. Anyone who thinks migration of jobs and high earners out of the city isn’t happening should speak to the realtors in Florida.

Elected officials around the country and world have quickly understood the competitive opportunity for poaching jobs and talent from New York. We urge the City Council and other elected officials to help fend off these efforts, first by acknowledging that we have a problem and second by looking at the current structure of the UBT and other tax laws and regulations to ensure that the city is taking whatever measures it can to mitigate the negative impact of the federal law on individuals and certain pass-through entities. We do not project that this tax law is a net negative for New York’s economy, unless we fail to deal honestly with its implications. We appreciate this Council hearing as an illustration of the kind of fact-finding and policy review that is necessary to keep New York competitive.”

Partnership Fund portfolio company TARA Biosystems appoints pharmaceutical industry innovation leader, John M. Baldoni, Ph.D., to its Board of Directors

Resource Type: Fund News, News, Partnership Fund

NEW YORKFeb. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — TARA Biosystems, Inc., a company offering physiologically relevant “heart-on-a-chip” tissue models for drug discovery and development applications, announced today that it has appointed pharmaceutical industry innovation leader, John M. Baldoni, Ph.D. to its Board of Directors.

TARA Biosystems offers bioanalytical testing services on its human stem cell-derived cardiac tissue platform. The company’s Biowire™ II platform enables early cardiac risk assessment of drug discovery candidates and accelerates discovery efforts for novel heart medicines via its disease modeling and phenotypic screening capabilities. TARA continues to develop a proprietary analytics platform, leveraging data from internal development programs on its Biowire™ II tissue production platform.

“TARA Biosystems uniquely enables the production of large amounts of high fidelity human-relevant data,” said Dr. Baldoni. “This provides foundational information for machine learning and next-generation computational approaches that are fundamentally shifting the way drug development is done today.”

Read the full Press Release

Partnership Fund portfolio company Lodo Therapeutics “unearths hope for new antibiotics”

Resource Type: Fund News, Partnership Fund

“In a bag of backyard dirt, scientists have discovered a powerful new group of antibiotics they say can wipe out many infections in lab and animal tests. including some microbes that are resistant to most traditional antibiotics.

Researches at Rockefeller University in New York reported the discovery of the new antibiotics, called malacidins, on Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology.

It is the latest in a series of promising antibiotics found through innovative genetic sequencing techniques that allow researchers to screen thousands of soil bacteria that previously could not be grown or studied in the laboratory. To identify the new compounds, the Rockefeller researchers sifted through genetic material culled from 1,500 soil samples.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Traffic Congestion Will Cost Metro Area $100 Billion by 2022

Resource Type: News, Press Releases

Downstate Commuters Lose Over 100 Million Hours Annually

An analysis released today by the Partnership for New York City calculates the cost of traffic congestion in the New York metropolitan area as $20 billion a year. Unless something is done to reduce traffic, the New York economy can expect to lose more than $100 billion over the next five years, enough to fund the modernization and maintenance of the MTA mass transit system for the next two decades.

The study was conducted by global engineering firm HDR for the Partnership, which is the city’s leading business organization. The findings represent a substantial increase in congestion since the Partnership and HDR conducted a similar analysis in 2006 [1], at which time the cost of congestion was $13 billion a year. The current study indicates a 53 percent increase in damaging traffic conditions in just over a decade.

A certain level of traffic congestion is evidence of a healthy local economy, but there is a tipping point where “excess congestion” creates real damage to the economic health and productivity of a region. In downstate New York, the study found that 44 percent congestion is considered excess congestion and is borne by business and individual commuters, local residents and visitors.

The biggest factors in the growing cost of congestion are commuting time and work-related travel time. The money-value of this time totaled $9.17 billion last year for the New York City metro area. Commuters working in downstate New York counties lost 113.3 million hours to congestion at an average cost of $767 per person [2]. Lost business revenue totaled $5.85 billion across the New York City metro area, increased business operating costs totaled $2.42 billion, and excess fuel and vehicle operating expenses amounted to $2.54 billion.

“Regional population growth contributes to traffic congestion, but also accelerates the strain on transit and road infrastructure. Solutions require an integrated strategy for infrastructure investment and traffic mitigation,” stated Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership. “London, Stockholm and other world cities are far ahead of us in managing congestion and raising new revenues for roads, bridges and mass transit projects through congestion pricing. It is time for New York to cut its congestion losses by adopting a pricing program.”

“The primary source of traffic congestion across the region are the Manhattan central business districts, where a quarter of regional economic activity is concentrated. The congestion generated by traffic going to and from Manhattan, however, spreads the traffic problems to surrounding communities, with workers in Queens suffering the highest number of car commuting hours lost due to excess congestion.  Reducing gridlock in Manhattan is the only way to trigger relief on congested roadways throughout the region,” Wylde continued.

The Partnership worked with HDR to complete this study, which updates a similar report from 2006. For the purposes of this analysis, the New York City metro area is defined as New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties and Northern New Jersey.

[1] Includes the effect of inflation on the cost of excess congestion.

[2] Excludes Northern New Jersey.