Roosevelt Coalition

Rebuilding New York

Eric Adams

Candidate for Mayor

How will you get New Yorker’s back to work?

The first thing we must do to ensure that New Yorker’s can get back to work and our City can build back stronger and more equitable is to make certain that every business, individual, and community is fully equipped with the necessary PPE and that the COVID19 vaccination program is fully built out and available to every corner of our city. The rollout of our PPE distribution and vaccination plan is finally hitting its stride, however we must ensure that our economic recovery is integrated into our public health recovery. Without safely reopening, our recovery will only be delayed further. To do this, we must address our economic relief and recovery comprehensively.

To start, we must adequately support our small businesses to keep them open and employees working with tax relief. To keep New Yorkers working—particularly in the service industries—we will allow businesses that pay the Commercial Rent Tax a break for two years if they demonstrate hardship and commit to certain employment levels.

We must also reduce tax burdens on small businesses to make them more competitive against out-of-town tech companies, such as Amazon, who have asserted market dominance in our city at the expense of small business owners—an existential problem for our small businesses that only deepened during the pandemic. This is why we will implement a weekly sales tax holiday, every Tuesday, on services and products that are more likely to be paid for in-person to incentivize New Yorkers to spend locally. We will offset the cost of this weekly holiday by more fairly taxing online transactions such as streaming services, which are not currently taxed.

Small businesses also pay huge fees just to launch and stay in business, and then face large fines for relatively small violations—many of which are due to lack of education about the law, not knowingly breaking it. We will make the permitting process easier and cheaper through our online system, and institute a warning system for violations that are not related to serious health or safety issues so that first-time offenders are given education in lieu of a fine. We will provide additional clarity to those who commit violations by categorizing every violation in a three level warning system: red, yellow and green. Each color corresponds to the number of days the owner has until the cure must be implemented.

We will also eliminate fees for starting, or restarting, a small business, in New York City.
The last thing we want to do in an economic crisis is charge people to start a new business—and restart a closed one. All filing and registration fees will be eliminated.

In addition to providing building owners tax abatements so that their tenants—such as restaurants and bars—can remain open, the State should also share the cost of restaurants’ workers for a period. Instead of simply paying unemployment to out-of-work food service workers, the State should be splitting the cost of their salaries with restaurant owners who commit to a certain level of employment, wages and hours while adhering to capacity limits and other health regulations. We will fight for this critical initiative to save our restaurant industry in Albany.

Finally, we have to provide our businesses with “back office” support. It is estimated that on average, small business owners spend 120 work days a year on all of the administrative tasks that come with owning a business. If the City offers “back office” assistance for these small businesses through local Chambers of Commerce, our mom and pop shops and entrepreneurs can save time and money on accounting and compliance needs, and focus on growing their businesses.

In addition to this small business support, we must ensure that our City’s recovery is more equitable as well. The COVID-19 pandemic did not create inequities in our city but it did shine a bright light on and exacerbate them. To build back more justly and equitably we invest in our overlooked communities.

We can do this in several ways including by first expanding the earned income tax credit in order to keep precious dollars in the hands of New Yorkers who most need it—and who are most-likely to put it right back into our local economy. We will boost the City’s Earned Income Tax Credit amount by increasing their share to 30% of the Federal return.

How will you make our city’s streets safer?

As someone who spent 22 years in the NYPD, and rose through the ranks to retire as a captain, I understand intimately that the prerequisite to prosperity as a city is public safety. I can say clearly and firmly that under my watch as Mayor, we will never go back to the bad old days of New York CIty where we saw 2,000 murders a year. That said, as a black man who was beaten by the NYPD at age 15, I also understand that public safety and social justice are not mutually exclusive and we must seek both equally and stridently.

To do this, we must take more forceful action to engage in proactive policing while also advancing tangible reforms that ensure each community is policed fairly and equitably.

Not only do we need to reinstitute the anti-crime unit into an anti-gun unit, but we must also identify savings in the NYPD to reinvest in historically underserved communities to prevent negative interactions with the criminal justice system early in life.

One way we can do this is to make certain that the NYPD focuses more on police work in order to reduce crime and less on jobs within the agency that could be civilianized.

Most people don’t realize that a large number of our police officers don’t actually spend their workdays fighting crime. Many, for instance, do clerical work, move barricades, and drive trucks. And even police officers tasked with fighting crime spend huge amounts of their time on court appearances and paperwork, not out in the street or conducting investigations or preventing crime. We can save $500 million annually through strategic civilianization of NYPD units where the existing ratio of police officers to civilian workers is simply not necessary, and by lowering overtime costs using technology to limit time wasted on paperwork and court appearances. That money can then go right into programs proven to reduce crime, such as our Crisis Management System.

We must also deal with crime spikes before they get out of control. By using real-time governing tools and tracking crime trends to become predictive, we can quickly shift NYPD resources from one community to another to reverse bad trends. For instance, we will regularly shift detectives and other officers from low-crime areas to crime hot-spots.

To improve NYPD transparency and oversight over sensitive policing operations while still maintaining needed information security, we will create a citywide law enforcement intelligence committee. The NYPD will regularly report to and share information with the committee, which will include the mayor, council speaker, council public safety chair, public advocate and borough presidents. Each of these individuals will receive top secret clearance. The committee can also then vote to determine when and how information on operations is disclosed to the public, rather than relying on the NYPD to make proactive disclosures

While we can rely upon the NYPD to proactively police communities, not every problem can be solved with more police. For example, we have seen a spike in mental health crises among our street homeless. In fact, sometimes the best policy is not something new and flashy, but rather to double down on programs with proven track records. We know, for instance, that the Fountain House model of care—which creates structured therapeutic social settings for members—helps people living with serious and persistent mental illness transition from therapeutic to non-therapeutic settings. Individuals who use Fountain House for residential rehabilitation services are consistently less likely to be admitted to the hospital or to use the emergency department. So we will expand this program citywide.

And for those that live in high-crime communities and who experience gun violence on a regular basis, we must recognize that this living situation creates trauma that impacts a youth’s ability to perform in school and achieve in life. Without adequate services that address trauma and allow for healing, youth are placed at higher risk of incarceration, teenage pregnancy and homelessness. Prevention and follow up measures that serve to heal and support these youth are best delivered by trauma-trained credible messengers paired with mental health professionals, social services and violence interrupters. We will recruit, hire, and train community residents who have real-life experience to provide an immediate post-crisis healing space for, and to develop a working relationship with, affected youth. This helps reduce feelings of isolation and mistrust, cultivate shared investment of community-centered healing, and reduce the fear often associated with living in a high-crime, high-poverty neighborhood.

In order to combat over policing and police abuse, we must implement significant reforms that empower local community voices, as well as assist the vast majority of police officers who are working nobly and justly, to be able to identify those officers who are not acting in the public’s interest.

For example, community policing is just a slogan if the NYPD is not, in fact, acting on what a community wants and needs. We will empower community boards and precinct councils to play a role in approving and vetoing by supermajority any precinct commander candidates and community affairs officers within their respective areas.

We will also publicize the list of officers the NYPD is monitoring for bad behavior. The NYPD keeps its own “monitoring list” of cops with records of complaints and violent incidents. We will make it public to be transparent and build trust.

Finally, we will make it easier for good officers to identify bad cops. Most police officers could tell you about a few bad cops they work with or have run in to—and most cops resent their behavior because it brings down their profession and makes it harder for them to do their job. At the same time, it is dangerous for cops to report those bad apples. So we will make it easier for cops to anonymously report bad behavior by their colleagues that results in swift action through an outside system overseen by the Department of Investigation, protecting whistleblowers and exposing problem police.

How will you address the city’s increasing budget deficit?

In order to address our City’s budget deficit, we need a comprehensive approach that looks at both curbing spending and strategically identifying revenue generators with funds that are targeted to ensuring we reopen our economy safely and fairly.

We must look more strategically at New York City’s assets. New York City owns and controls billions-of-dollars worth of property across the five boroughs, representing huge potential value and revenue to pay for critical City services when we most need them. We will immediately do a complete inventory of all City properties and determine best use—whether they should be utilized by government agencies, used for housing or services, sold or leased—in order to reduce costs across City government and yield income that can be put toward core services to maintain and improve quality of life.

However, no amount of revenue will ensure our way out of this deficit and ensure our economy returns. New York City can save $1.5 billion and avoid layoffs by simply not hiring anyone new for two years. We can significantly reduce labor costs by $1.5 billion through attrition by not replacing retiring or resigning City workers and working with the State to offer early retirements to others over the next two years. This will also allow us to retain the workers we need to deliver vital City services.

We must also mandate efficiency in City government. By instituting a standing Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), we will reduce agency spending at least 3-5% by applying an efficiency mandate that eliminates ineffective programs and unnecessary spending, while utilizing an inequality impact test so that programs vital to lower-in-come New Yorkers are protected.

But these efficiency mandates mean nothing without oversight and a leader dedicated to ensuring success. The Efficiency Czar will oversee the standing PEG and conduct quarterly agency and department audits to continuously uncover inefficiency in the City government and make suggestions for changes. The Czar will also oversee the evaluation of large City contracts —particularly related to recurring expenses such as utility bills—and partner with companies that are incentivized to find cost savings.

We must also do more to reduce costs when we manage our existing infrastructure. At a time when we are facing massive multi-billion-dollar City deficits, New York needs to be creative about how it pays for and manages expensive pieces of its essential infrastructure. For instance, by expanding the role of franchises to handle capital projects in our parks, we will partner with conservancies, like the Central Park Conservancy and Prospect Park Alliance, who can execute work faster and cheaper than the City.

We must also utilize New York City’s purchasing power to find better deals for city residents and create a fairer economy. Far too many City contracts just keep getting renewed or extended despite poor performance. At the beginning of the new administration, all contracts over $10 million will be put under immediate review, and those that are ineffective, or can be done better by the City, will be eliminated.

And finally, to keep good jobs in New York and advance our goals for a fairer economy, we will reward businesses that hire local workers and benefit minority and female owners and workers—especially on City-financed projects. Specifically, businesses will be asked to commit to hiring 75% city-based workers, prioritizing M/WBE contractors, and ensuring their contractors pay a living wage and report their workers’ residency and ethnicity statistics. Employers who agree to these terms could benefit from tax breaks and special consideration for City contracts.

How will you stop the exodus of residents from New York City?

In order to ensure that New York City remains a livable city, we must tackle the issues of public safety as outlined above but we must also ensure that our public school system is the envy of the world. In order to do this we must implement core reforms that adapt our school system to the modern era and ensure that student outcomes are preparing them for the future economy and the challenges that our society will be facing.

I will be laser-focused on making this City work better by putting all agencies on one unified Digital Platform and tracking success through a real-time scoring model that allows the City and all New Yorkers to see how we are performing on public safety and public health metrics on a daily basis and our progress toward quarterly goals on quality of life issues.

By streamlining government to improve city services, and reinvesting the savings into improvements to public safety and public health in our local economy we are going to make the city more livable and more desirable for New Yorkers, visitors and those looking to invest or move here.

Finally, we must continue to evolve in diversifying our economy by continuing to attract new out-of-town businesses and supporting the economy of the future. For example, the Relocation Employment Assistance Program (REAP) has successfully drawn new businesses here from outside the state by providing a tax credit per employee per year if they locate in certain areas of the city. We will expand that to bring more business to New York.

We will also encourage startups in industries of the future to locate here. It is far too difficult for innovators and entrepreneurs to start their businesses in New York City. Real estate costs and high costs of living have made some of the most brilliant talent turn to other cities. We have suffered as a result because we have missed out on the job opportunities and the birth of fast-growing industries. So we will incentivize startups to move to our outer-boroughs where property costs are more affordable and to develop fellowship programs with CUNY schools in exchange for tax credits. We will also interview failed start-ups to see how the city could better serve entrepreneurs.

Finally, the City, in partnership with investors and businesses prepared to invest in the long-term success of New York, will start an incubator to fund innovators focused on solving systemic citywide problems that lead to inequities. New Yorkers do not need another meal delivery service or another social media sensation nearly as much as we need our brightest minds to come together and solve issues such as job placement and outer-borough transportation.

How will you bring back tourism?

Tourism is a key sector of our economy, and we must keep the welcome mat out for visitors who bring billions of dollars into our city every year, employing hundreds-of-thousands of New Yorkers. That means our hotels must stay open and their 50,000 workers must stay at work. To do that, we will suspend property tax debt interest for two years so that we do not push financially distressed hotels deeper into debt, forcing closures and layoffs.

We must also simply reinvest in what makes New York City beautiful. The pandemic has had an outsize impact on the arts and cultural institutions. Long-term this hurts the tourism industry, which provided 400,000 jobs pre-COVID. We will reduce unemployment in this sector while returning our city to the pinnacle of arts and culture by:
Providing free space for artists to create by repurposing vacant storefronts to create free co-working and studio spaces for creatives and collaborators.
Turning our open spaces into spaces for art by tasking the Department of Cultural Affairs to greenlight more open spaces to be utilized as stages and for art installations.
Investing in green art by commissioning artists to paint murals with paint that turns pollutants and harmful compounds into harmless nitrates and carbonates in the atmosphere, beautifying our city as we rejuvenate it.
Creating a public/private partnership to create murals on blighted properties.

Finally, we must remind the world that NYC is still the center of the universe. We will organize the largest employers in New York to develop, fund and implement a marketing plan for our city to the rest of the world unlike any ad campaign we have ever undertaken. In addition to pitching our city as the place to visit, live and invest, we will showcase our commitment to public health and public safety to inspire confidence that this is the place to be.

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