New York City could use municipal bonds as a way to fund better outcomes for immigrants coming to New York from the Ukrainian-Southern border, said city comptroller Brad Lander.
Asylum seekers coming to the Big Apple can benefit from new economic initiatives tied to a comprehensive strategy, Lander said at a webinar hosted by the Association for a Better New York.
While the recent actions by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to send illegal immigrants to New York City were “terrifying,” Lander said they offered the city an opportunity. .
“The increase in immigration saved the city from a financial crisis,” Lander said. “We’re lucky these people are here. They want to work, so let’s do what the mayor is doing and let’s get the federal government to get them a work permit. Let’s get them working as soon as possible.” Figure out how to get good jobs, whether you’re from Venezuela or Ukraine.”
He praised federal infrastructure investment and employment laws.
“If we can use infrastructure funding to start more construction projects and put more solar panels on the roofs of buildings, that’s a great job people can get,” he said.
All these must be partnerships between the public, private and non-profit sectors, he added.
“I use this Solar NYC program that I market as a model,” he said. “What we want to do is use city capital dollars, local government debt to finance a rooftop solar installation that the city has built. We will pay, but the work will not be done by city officials,” he said. He said.
The city covers the costs, Lander said, so it can tell installers it needs to “hire people through a series of programs like Green City Forest, Solar One and St. Nix.” [Alliance] It’s a run that can give people in public housing an avenue to their jobs. “
And it “can be done at absolutely no city expense. If we can use the city’s capital as an infrastructure, even if it’s on a private home or building, we can own the solar panels on the roof, We can create a lot of good jobs, and these jobs are perfect for people from Venezuela, people from Ukraine, and kids who have graduated from high school in low-income areas,” he said.
“New York City’s future is much more solid and much more optimistic than we fear in a very dark moment,” Lander said. As of July, it had regained 96% of its pre-pandemic private sector employment, with some key sectors such as leisure and hospitality slow to recover and still down, but others Things are well above pre-pandemic levels, as are technology and healthcare.”
Earlier this month, Lander told the New York State Board of Financial Control that in a time of economic uncertainty and mixed data signals, the city is facing record high inflation, stock market volatility and rising interest rates. said. He requested an additional deposit of his $800 million to the Earnings Stabilization Fund from excess earnings last fiscal year.
New York City is one of the largest issuers of municipal bonds in the country. As of the first quarter of fiscal 2022, the City had approximately $38.13 billion in general debt bonds outstanding.
This includes various city agencies that issue tax-exempt and taxable bonds, such as the New York City Transitional Finance Office and the City Water Finance Office, which have debts of $41.64 billion and $31 billion, respectively. not.
The City’s GO bonds are rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, AA by S&P Global Ratings, AA-minus by Fitch Ratings and AA-plus by Kroll Bond Rating Agency. Fitch assigns a positive outlook to the city, while Moody’s S&P and Kroll assign a stable outlook to the credit.
The city’s 2023 budget of $101 billion was adopted in June. An analysis by Lander’s office shows his budget for fiscal 2023 is $10.44 billion less than his fiscal 2022, due to cuts in his COVID aid due to federal relief measures.
On Monday, Lander released a report showing the city collected $869 million in commercial rent tax (CRT) in 2022. That’s unchanged from the same period in 2021, but 4% below his peak of $907 million in 2019. CRT is levied on commercial tenants south of his 96th Street in Manhattan, paying more than $250,000 in annual rent.
“The drop in CRT from 2019 is an anomaly and did not occur in previous recessions, as rising commercial vacancies were offset by higher rents for new and renewed leases,” the report said. I’m here. “Despite the continuing economic recovery, CRT’s revenues are still constrained as the city’s central business district suffers from a decline in economic activity.
Year-to-date, the city collected $6.2 billion in sales taxes, the largest increase of any municipality in the state, according to state data.
Looking at business conditions, Wall Street profits fell to $5.78 billion in the second quarter from $7.76 billion in the first quarter and $13.04 billion in the second quarter of last year.
“Profits have been impacted by a sharp decline in the stock market and rising borrowing costs. Profits in the first half of 2022 fell by 56% compared to the first half of 2021,” the report said.
International passenger travel at airports around New York City increased by 473,000 in June to 3.86 million, still below the 5.2 million in August 2019.
The recovery in international travel has not carried over to hotel bookings, with room demand down from 3.1 million in June to 2.9 million in July, down from 3.5 million in July 2019, according to the report. 17% decrease. From $250 the previous month to July.
“The discrepancy between increased international travel and flat hotel demand is likely explained by an increase in outbound international travel,” the report said, adding that “an increase in international travel is likely to be a sign that Americans By taking advantage of and making travel that isn’t possible during COVID restrictions, rather than a massive increase in international visitors to NYC.”
He was optimistic about the future of the city.
“Despite seeing the challenges of this transition to hybrid work, rising inflation, and a possible recession as stimulus expires, I believe New York City continues to be a place people want to live. If you have a real good reason and make the right investments, you can keep it going,” Lander told ABNY.