Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Economic Development Plan?

We have been arguing ad nauseum that Mike Bloomberg has been an unmitigated disaster when it comes to promoting real economic development in NYC. In particular, he and his commissioners have been a regulatory scourge on neighborhood small businesses-raising taxes and piling on more and more regulations.

So it comes with no surprise that the mayor's management report would reveal the following-courtesy of the Gotham Gazette: "The preliminary management report gives even shorter shrift to economic development, a key policy area. In its two pages the report on the city's Economic Development Corp. has only one reference to job loss in the city. It appears as the last of six "Preliminary Performance Highlights": The unemployment rate in the first four months of this fiscal year was 10.1 percent, up from 5.9 percent during the same period a year ago. The one-sentence response to this disturbing statistic: "The increase is principally the result of the large job losses associated with the recession that began in August 2008."

So, let's get this straight. Unemployment almost doubles and the mayor takes no responsibility for the jump. Well folks, it's time to bell the cat. The fact that this city is a hellish place to do business is not something that began with Mike Bloomberg-but it sure was exacerbated by him, a fact that's made even worse by the mayor's business background.

You'd expect that, given this background, Bloomberg would have a bit more understanding and sympathy for businesses and what they need to grow and prosper. You'd think, but you would be wrong-a sad situation that is further worsened by his health mania; imposing calorie counting, cigarette taxes, trans fat bans, soda tax proposals and gruesome tobacco signage, without regard to how theses initiatives might make the business climate even worse.

So, as the smoke and mirror campaign dissipates-along with the sheer fraudulence of the Bloomberg,"five borough economic development plan," what you are left with is, well, not much tangible gain-and a skyrocketing unemployment rate that mocks the $100 million Bloomberg campaign infomercials that reveal, at the same time, a little tax man behind the curtain.

It is a sad fact that the only tax that has gotten the mayor's dander up are the proposals to hit Wall Street transactions or executive pay. So the bleak economic picture in NYC cannot be laid on the recession alone-and it has been par for the course for the mayor to be able to avoid any blame precisely because the local media hasn't held him to any standards whatsoever.

What we are left with is a mayor whose only economic vision devolves from an unfortunate edifice complex-a problematic perspective that does little to provide real job growth (and often has the opposite effect, as we have shown). When the dust settles on this mayoralty-and the historical perspective is available-we believe that the Bloomberg era will be understood as perhaps the most over hyped, and under performing, epoch in NYC's history; and those sycophants in the press will be seen as the enablers for this epic of false expectations and bogus reputation.