Under the proposed BID, Flushing property owners would spend $380,000 a year to keep the downtown area clean. Opponents of the BID said they could accomplish the task for $100,000. They added that the sluggish economy, the increase in property tax and even the SARS virus make the timing for the BID all wrong.
It will be unfortunate if the opposition succeeds in torpedoing the BID. Downtown Flushing is as dirty as it is prosperous. It is reasonable to ask business property owners to help whip this area into shape. The BID would increase property values and would bring increased business to the area. Flushing needs this BID and it needs it now!
Where were the unions?
"There is power. There is power in a band of union men."
Given the gravity of the economic crisis that the city faced, it seems that things have worked out about as well as anyone might have hoped.
For those city workers who lost their jobs, this must be a most difficult time. Unemployment in the city is at a record high and finding a decent job must be a daunting experience. Nevertheless, the city was able to avoid massive layoffs and some of service cuts dearest to the hearts of the people of Queens have been restored.
Nobody likes paying higher property taxes and the return of the sales tax on clothing is particularly annoying. The higher income tax will affect many families who do not consider themselves wealthy.
Still, all in all the mayor and the City Council have done an excellent job under enormous pressure. Despite differences, they were able to hammer out a budget on deadline that will keep the city afloat, at least for one more year. The state Legislature could learn from their example.
The one group that did not step up to the plate is the municipal unions. Although the union leaders say they were prepared to offer hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions, in the end they gave up little or nothing. The union leaders could and should have agreed to a longer work week and employee contributions to health benefits. Without hurting members already in the pension system, the unions could have agreed to pension plans for new hires that would be more in line with pension plans offered for similar work in the private sector.
The bottom line is that the welfare of their members is linked directly to the long-term financial health of the city. There is still time for the unions to shoulder part of the burden of getting New York City back on track. That may call for making decisions that will make them less than popular with the rank and file.
Its time for Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) to decide whether he wants to be one of the citys most powerful union leaders or a state legislator. Trying to be both is a clear conflict of interest.
As a legislator, McLaughlin is called upon to vote on state funding for programs in New York City, including the funding for city schools. There may be occasions when the interests of his New York City constituents will be the same as those of the laborers he represents as the head of the Central Labor Council. But what happens when they conflict? Which job will be more important?
This isnt a gray area. The potential for conflict of interest should be obvious to everyone.
©2003 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.