Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Diaz slams City's 'living wage' study, again -- UPDATE: Liu jumps in the criticism

Even since the Kingsbridge Armory
developer backed out of creating
a shopping mall due to a living wage
mandate two years ago, the issue has
been a hot topic for high profile
elected officials.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is one of the leading supporters of implementing a living wage mandate on projects that receive subsidies from the city, so when the New York City Economic Development Corp. released their final report damning the living wage, Diaz shot back, calling the study "nothing more than a ruse" to support Mayor Bloomberg, who is staunchly opposes the proposed mandate.

Diaz slammed the study earlier this year when the EDC (the city's economic development arm) release early reports of the study.

Here's the story from the New York Post on the study.

Jump below for the full statement, and expect a story from this week's Riverdale Review on the living wage to be posted on this blog tomorrow morning. City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, one of the sponsors of the bill that would require the living wage, recently made some alterations to the bill in hopes of gaining more support and appeasing the opponents.

Diaz's statement:

"Supporters of the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act have known since the announcement of  NYCEDC’s study of living wage laws  that  it would be nothing more than a ruse designed to provide cover for Mayor Bloomberg’s clearly stated opposition to living wage mandates. The mayor made it clear from the beginning that he does not support this bill, and the City then hired consultants to conduct the study that have long and extensive records of bias against not only living wage laws, but minimum wage laws as well."

Jump below for the full statement as well as City Comptroller John Liu's statement (I'd jump. Liu's statement is fierce).

“As we predicted more than a year ago, the final study released today is biased and scientifically defective.  In fact, given the significant changes that this bill has seen in recent months, this study has no relevance whatsoever to the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act, and represents little more than $1 million in wasted taxpayer money.

“I will continue to fight to make the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act a reality. When developers ask for heavy taxpayer subsidies to make their projects work, they must be willing to do better by their employees. This bill will make that premise a reality,” said Diaz.

The “Fair Wages for New Yorkers” Act, which was introduced into the City Council at the behest of Diaz, would require developers that receive heavy taxpayer subsidies to pay their employees a “living wage.” The bill, which was introduced by Council Members Annabel Palma and G. Oliver Koppell on behalf of the borough president, currently has 30 City Council co-sponsors. 

In May, a poll by Baruch College Survey Research was released, showing that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support such “living wage” laws. The survey showed that 78 percent of New Yorkers agree with requiring employers that get taxpayer-funded city subsidies to pay $10-an-hour plus benefits, while just 15 percent do not. This includes 83 percent of all Democrats, 74 percent of independents, and 56 percent of Republicans.

City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to questions about the NYCEDC-commissioned study released today, "The Economic Impacts on New York City of the Proposed Living Wage Mandate."

"This million dollar report is so flawed it’s not worth the bandwidth for a download. The EDC’s claim that a living wage kills jobs shows just how distorted the agency’s perspective has become. The proposed living wage would be a requirement on new projects that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers and would create new jobs that pay decent wages. The claim of job losses is rhetoric at its worst."

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