Testimony

Improving Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs)

March 4, 2009.  Testimony before the NYS Assembly Standing Committee on Local Governments Public Hearing on Industrial Development Agencies, submitted by FPI executive director Frank Mauro. There is room for improvement in six areas:

  • The usefulness of IDA hearings,
  • Reporting on costs and benefits of IDA-supported projects,
  • Ensuring that IDA benefits don’t go to firms that break environmental, safety or other state laws,
  • Coordination with all local governments affected by IDA decisions,
  • Transmission and recording of PILOT payments to
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Testimony on the 2009-2010 Executive Budget – Workforce Issues

February 4, 2009. Testimony presented by FPI executive director Frank Mauro to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees. The Executive Budget contains many proposals that will directly and indirectly cut jobs, exacerbating the recession in the state economy. There are other ways to close budget gaps – notably, an increase in high-end income taxes – that would do much less harm to the economy.… (read more)

Testimony before the Assembly Ways and Means Committee hearing on the impact of the economic crisis on the state budget

November 13, 2008. Testimony submitted by FPI’s Frank Mauro and Ronald Deutsch of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. To avoid deepening the already threatening recession, the state must not rely solely on drastic cuts in state spending to close current and expected budget gaps. A balanced approach includes tapping the state’s tax stabilization reserve fund (put together for this very purpose), surgical cuts in wasteful spending, and a high-end income tax surcharge like that used successfully in 2003 to close … (read more)

Maximizing the Value and Use of State Assets

November 6, 2008. Testimony of James A. Parrott before the New York State Commission on State Asset Maximization. To fulfill the commission’s charge to “maximize the value and use of state assets,” the state should carefully consider in-house design and prevailing wage standards when setting up new projects. Also, economic development subsidies should include strict accountability standards; the state should not act as project investor without receiving in return an ownership stake for the taxpayers.… (read more)

Testimony on MTA Financing

September 15, 2008. Testimony of James A. Parrott before the New York State Commission on MTA Financing. Albany will have to make some tough choices to align the MTA’s recurring spending needs with recurring revenues. It will not be easy to do this during a downturn, but it is imperative that the State and the City put in place a phased-in approach that stabilizes MTA finances for the long term.… (read more)

Testimony on Proposed Legislation Addressing Real Property Taxation Issues

June 2, 2008. Presented by FPI Executive Director Frank Mauro to the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government and Assembly Standing Committee on Real Property Taxation. The Middle Class STAR rebate program is better targeted than the original STAR program in that in takes income into consideration. However, Middle Class STAR is still not efficient and equitable property tax relief, since it does not take the size of a homeowner’s property tax bill into consideration and it is still based … (read more)

The Economic Situation of New York City’s Low- and Moderate-Income Households

May 2, 2008. Testimony presented by chief economist James Parrott to the Rent Guidelines Board: a picture of a shallow recovery, high housing cost burdens and a shrinking middle class – plus a local economy in recession.… (read more)

The Cost of Affordable Housing Construction in New York City

February 14, 2008. Testimony presented by FPI chief economist James Parrott to the Assembly Committee on Housing. Significant fiscal costs arise from the rampant practice in affordable housing construction of illegally misclassifying workers as independent contractors or off the books. Also, paying prevailing wage can actually decrease costs, by attracting more productive workers. Testimony >> (read more)

Testimony on the 2008-2009 Executive Budget – Economic Development and Taxes

February 11, 2008. Testimony submitted by FPI executive director Frank Mauro to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees. Given the many signs that we are in a recession, state leaders must be especially careful about the way they close the state budget gap. Some gap-closing strategies could actually exacerbate the downturn.… (read more)

Testimony on the 2008-2009 Executive Budget – Human Services

February 5, 2008. Testimony submitted by FPI senior economist Trudi Renwick to the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees. Renwick explains several important policy opportunities for New York: increase the basic welfare grant; liberalize the earned income disregard; finance the Earned Income Tax Credit from the General Fund; and take child care funding out of the Flexible Fund for Family Services (FFFS), to ensure that adequate resources go for this essential work support. Renwick includes a series of … (read more)