Subway safety in New York took on a new meaning when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority acknowleged a cyber intrusion, which set off loud alarm bells about the rising threat of system hacks.
The MTA is one of the largest municipal issuers and reports linked China’s government to the episode.
Despite MTA officials? assurances of quick troubleshooting and no evidence of compromise to its operational systems, employee or customer information, this marked the latest chilling cybersecurity event for public finance.
In fact, just having been born here makes me an atypical New Yorker. Of the approximately 8.3 million people who live in the city today, just under half were born in New York State. Eleven percent come from other US states and 40% from the rest of the world. So we’re not wrong to associate New York with immigration—the average New Yorker comes from somewhere else.
I got these numbers from the US Census Bureau, who do their best to estimate not just how many people live in each county, but how they got there: by birth, by migrating from another country, or by migrating from elsewhere in the US. When you take away the people who died, moved abroad, or moved domestically, you’re left with each of these three streams’ net effect on the population that year. Those are the numbers that will show us whether it’s unusual to move away:
At the end of April, the New York City Council took a bold step and approved a city-sponsored retirement plan for private-sector employees who do not have retirement coverage at work, creating the city’s first ‘auto-IRA’ (individual retirement account). SCEPA’s Retirement Equity Lab, which testified in support of the policy, estimated the New York auto IRA plan will provide coverage to 2.8 million city workers that today have none.
Mayor de Blasio signed the bill last week implementing the city’s auto-IRA program.
The NYC Auto IRA Bill Is Well- Designed
Employers with more than five employees will have to automatically deduct a percentage of their workers’ pay and forward it to city-facilitated, not-for-profit IRAs. (Employers with less than five employees, self employed, and gig workers need to voluntarily join.) Auto IRA account’s are individually-owned and professionally managed, and administered by an independent board headed by city-appointed trustees. While employers are required to participate, employees would have the right to change their contribution rates or opt-out of the program. The plan is also portable; participants can maintain their accounts when they change jobs.
So he [NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio] hasn’t acted with much urgency as the murder rate rose 47 percent last year, to a total of 468 people killed, and has risen this year, so far, by 17 percent.
In London, the global city that most closely resembles Gotham, the murder rate plummeted last year. It fell to 126 from 150, down 16 percent.
Why? Well, that’s obvious: It was the global pandemic. “Many, many crime types have reduced as you would expect,” said Met Police chief Cressida Dick, noting that fewer people were outside to fight with each other.
How about Italy, hit hard and early by the pandemic? There, murders fell by 14 percent, to 271 from 315.
France with its troubled banlieues? The country’s murders were down 2 percent in 2020, to 863.
But these are all safe countries anyway. So what about cartel-ridden Mexico? There, murders fell by slightly less than half a percent last year, to 34,523 — the first decline in six years.
The budget deal Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut this week with the Legislature lifts the top marginal rate on the state’s income tax to 10.9%, from today’s 8.82%. Add New York City’s top local tax of 3.88%, and the total is 14.78%. Take a knee, California (top marginal rate of 13.3%), and recognize America’s new tax king. Wall Street types already are migrating to Florida, which has an income tax of 0%.
Mr. Cuomo’s budget deal also raises the business franchise tax to 7.25%, from 6.5%. This affects many independent proprietors and will be another incentive to escape from Manhattan. Both of these tax increases are sold as temporary “surcharges,” running through 2027 for the income tax and 2023 for the corporate tax. But politicians in Albany used the same line when they passed the “millionaires tax” in 2009. Does Mr. Cuomo think two decades is temporary?
The reason for the tax increase isn’t the pandemic or a revenue shortfall. Mr. Cuomo last year pointed a gun at New York’s head and threatened to shoot unless Congress sent more money. He received the ransom he demanded, and more. The state is getting $12.6 billion in direct budget relief from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid bill.
What did make a big difference, it turns out, is not so much the severity of lockdowns but pre-existing conditions. The likely cause here can be best identified as “exposure density” brought on by crowded housing, transit, and office environments.
That helps explain why, after New York City’s suburbs were hit hard in the first wave, the current surge has hit the outer boroughs, where a much higher share of workers have had little choice but to continue taking the subway or other transit.
Subway turnstile data published by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) shows a correlation between median household income and subway ridership. Neighborhoods with lower median household incomes tended to have significantly higher ridership as a share of 2019 levels compared to wealthier neighborhoods. This trend was clear not only in April, when COVID-19 had its most dramatic impact on ridership, but has continued through the recovery to date.
In high-income neighborhoods, residents are more likely to be employed in sectors that have easily adapted to remote-work models, such as financial activities and business services. In neighborhoods where residents are more likely to continue using the subway during the pandemic, common areas of employment are the health care and social assistance sector and the leisure and hospitality sector.
Author(s): Thomas DiNapoli
Date Accessed: 28 March 2021
Publication Site: Office of New York State Comptroller
The average bonus paid to employees in New York City’s securities industry grew by 10 percent in 2020 to $184,000, in line with the city’s most recent 9.9 percent projection, likely allowing the city to meet or exceed its income tax revenue projections in FY2021, according to annual estimates released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
As a major source of revenue, DiNapoli estimates that the securities industry accounted for 18 percent ($15.1 billion) of state tax collections in state fiscal year (SFY) 2020 and 6 percent ($3.9 billion) of city tax collections in city fiscal year (CFY) 2020.
Pretax profits in 2020 for the broker/dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms (the traditional measure of securities industry profits) increased by 81 percent to $50.9 billion. It was the fifth consecutive year of growth in profits, which are up 256 percent since 2015. Profitability in 2020 was the second highest on record, trailing $61.4 billion recorded in 2009.
Author(s): Thomas DiNapoli
Publication Date: 26 March 2021
Publication Site: Office of New York State Comptroller
Scott Stringer is worried. New York City pension funds are having a tough time enlisting private equity (PE) firms due to a requirement that PE outfits pay for litigation expenses out of their own pockets instead of shunting the cost onto investors.
So, as the city official overseeing the funds, City Comptroller Stringer is urging fund trustees to scrap this rule, which would help the buyout firms if they run into trouble with regulators or other litigants, as first reported by the New York Post. The idea is to get more PE players managing city pension money.
The New York City Public Pension Funds, the collective of the city’s five pension funds, implemented the private equity rule, called the “GP Expenses Provision,” roughly five years ago after Carlyle Group was swept up in a collusion case and had to pay a $115 million settlement, the Post reported.
Real-estate veterans and hedge-fund executives believe a seismic shift is under way, one that is moving vast amounts of Wall Street wealth from New York to South Florida. For the past several years, Wall Street has been colonizing the Sunshine State, attracted to more favorable tax policies and sunnier climes. And the momentum is only accelerating amid the pandemic.
While prices are under pressure in New York amid an oversupply of high-end condominiums on the market, price tags in Palm Beach and Miami appear to be on an unstoppable upward trajectory.
Last week, private-equity executive Scott Shleifer, a co-founder of Tiger Global Management, paid over $120 million for an oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach, setting a price record for the state. New Jersey hedge-fund executive David Tepper is also in contract to buy a $73 million house on the ocean nearby, The Wall Street Journal reported.
While he maintains a $238 million home in New York and another luxury condo in Chicago, Citadel founder Ken Griffin has also been on an acquisition spree in South Florida, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy land in Palm Beach and Miami, and is opening an office in Miami.
In 2019, New York City’s arts, entertainment and recreation sector employed 93,500 people in 6,250 establishments. These jobs had an average salary of $79,300 and generated $7.4 billion in total wages.
In 2019, 128,400 residents (including nearly 31,000 self-employed residents) drew their primary source of earnings from the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
From 2009 to 2019, employment in the sector grew by 42 percent, faster than the 30 percent rate for total private sector employment. Establishments and total wages in the sector also grew faster than all establishments and wages citywide.
As of December 2020, arts, entertainment and recreation employment declined by 66 percent from one year earlier, the largest decline among the City’s economic sectors.
The Chelsea/Clinton/Midtown Manhattan Business District neighborhood, home to 1,921 venues, accounted for 46 percent of all jobs in the sector, far more than any other City neighborhood.
Publication Date: February 2021
Publication Site: Office of the New York State Comptroller