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Monday, May 9, 2011

City Releases Long-Awaited Living Wage Study

City Hall reports that the city's Economic Development Corporation has finally released its assessment on what a living wage mandate would mean for New York City.

The 44-page report says that requiring employers to pay a living wage would ultimately kill tens of thousands of potential jobs and stifle commercial development, on the grounds that many would not be able to afford the higher wages. City Hall uploaded the entire document on its site; you can read it here.

A living wage bill has been lingering in the City Council for over a year now. The legislation, sponsored by Bronx Council Members Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma at the behest of Borough President Ruben Diaz and backed by a number of local organizations, would require developers of retail projects receiving taxpayer subsidies to pay workers there $10 an hour with benefits or $11.50 without.

Today's report has been a year in the making: the EDC hired Boston-based consulting firm Charles River Associates last August to conduct the study, paying the group $1 million to assess the economic effects of such a law.

Supporters of the City Council bill disparaged the EDC's move, saying several of the economists hired to work on the study are known living wage critics, and that the report was "rigged" to comply with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's opposition to a wage mandate.

Two years ago, Bloomberg and Borough President Diaz butted heads over plans to fill the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory, where the mayor was pushing to build a shopping mall. The plan was eventually killed in the City Council, mainly because the developer would not guarantee that retail workers be paid a living wage.

The landmark building still sits empty, though Diaz is soon expected to release his own report, drafted by the NYU Wagner School of Public Policy, with recommendations for redeveloping the site.


  1. Hopefully Diaz will read this report. He killed many jobs by not allowing Related to build the Armory. He is a job killer. Is there really a need for Diaz to release his own report. This is a total joke and Bronxites should be ashamed to have Diaz as boro pres.

  2. These comments are ridiculous about him killing jobs with the Armory. Lets say you have the option of shopping on Fordham Road or in the Armory (assuming it became a shopping mall). And it was rainy. Or cold. Or hot. Or snowy. Where are you going to go? Not to Fordham Road, that's for sure. Any jobs created by the Armory would have been lost at Fordham Road. I'm happy to have Diaz as my BP, and I'll be damn happy when he's my mayor. Lets get something that creates NEW jobs, not just the same jobs on a different street.

  3. What a phony argument. Anon @ 12:42 clearly works for Diaz. Give yourself a handle. This focus on Fordham Rd. jobs is a revisionist account of why the BP and the thugs from NorthWest Con Artists and Morton Williams conspired to kill this thing. Diaz has a better chance of convincing his dad to vote for gay marriage than becoming mayor. When the electorate starts voting itself money, that's the end of our democracy. Blatant, shameless pandering to the poverty kings and queens of the Bronx. Beggers can't be choosers. Choosers get left with a vacant building.

    Can we also address the bill itself? What is the maximum a company can get without being extorted by poverty royalty? If a company gets $1 do they have to change their compensation system? Ans why are non-profits exempt? Why will NorthWest Bronx thuggery inc. be able to pay its people less than a living wage?

    My head wants to explode at all this nonsense. If this report had come out for a living wage, would BNN claim it was a hand-picked and rigged report?

  4. Anon 1:02, I'll stay as anonymous as you do.
    From what I understand, a company needs significant subsidies to be forced to compensate a living wage. While I haven't looked at what "significant" is, since the Mayor is very much against this, there will most certainly be a compromise that favors a higher subsidy limit when figuring out what the threshold is.
    The point is, the electeds knew the study would sway to the mayor's point before it came out. It was done by a company with a history of studying living wage and concluding it's negative. That's now how the city should spend my money. While it probably wasn't 'rigged,' Charles River Associates certainly didn't start with a clean slate.
    Lastly, why do I have to be a Diaz employee to defend a living wage? You must work for Bloomberg because you don't support the living wage! <--See how that works?

  5. Bc the fordham rd argument has only come our of prince poverty's office and you talk about him as the next mayor- God forbid! That would ethnic and class warfare politics at its worst. I shudder to think of the giveaway freeloader mentality he'll bring to the city- a truly destuctive mentality that has destroyed our boro from its past glory.

  6. Actually...the living wage argument isn't a giveaway freeloader mentality. That's welfare, which in my opinion needs to be changed so people stop freeloading off that who don't need it.
    A living wage would make companies who take our tax dollars give them back to us in a wage that makes living in New York City possible...especially if rent regulations expire (I don't live in one of those apartments though, and I don't want to get into that argument because you're probably against that too).

  7. This borough isn't "destroyed" "from its past glory". It continues to be a glorious and beautiful place that happens to be facing some daunting issues.


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