John Liu unveils a job-creation strategy based on faster public spending

New York City construction workers. (Flickr via Tinnytintin)
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

Comptroller John Liu, who continues to position himself for a run for mayor, today outlined a necessary component of any would-be mayor's platform: a job-creation strategy.

This morning at 1 Centre Street, Liu proposed that New York City take advantage of low interest rates and construction costs to refinance its debt, and accelerate its long term-capital plan, something he said could create 15,000 new jobs in the next two fiscal years.

“By accelerating projects already in the pipeline the City can jump-start 15,000 jobs – at a time when the construction industry is still struggling and unemployment is stubbornly high, especially among minorities,” said Liu, in a statement. “The plan addresses infrastructure challenges such as school overcrowding, deteriorating roads and bridges, and the need for new and better parks. It also offers an opportunity to save taxpayer money by taking advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and relatively low construction costs.”

His proposal, called the “New York City Capital Acceleration Plan," points to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report that named New York City the world’s most competitive major metropolis while also faulting its infrastructure, ranking its physical capital 24th out of 120 cities.

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

At the same time, notes the Liu proposal, New York City construction employment tumbled 15 percent between the 2008 and 2011 fiscal years.

Liu, who is close with labor unions, says the way to ameliorate that problem is to accelerate government construction spending that's already in the works by $2 billion in additional spending in the next two fiscal years.

Since, according to the report, for every $1 million spent on construction, 7.7 jobs are created, "Two billion dollars of investment would create close to 5,000 jobs in FY 2013 and about 10,500 in FY 2014.”

Liu urged the city include the provision in its 2013 fiscal year budget, which the Bloomberg administration is now negotiating with the City Council.

Neither Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office or council Speaker Christine Quinn's office had an immediate response.