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Federal Reconstruction Funds: Opportunities for Public Input Prepared by Good Jobs New York www.reconstructionwatch.net (212) 414-9394 firstname.lastname@example.org 275 7th Avenue 6th Floor New York, NY 10001
Reconstruction Watch seeks to assist low and moderate income New Yorkers in understanding and influencing the reconstruction process. Through its research and publications, Reconstruction Watch provides these New Yorkers and the organizations that assist and represent them with timely information that they can use to participate effectively in the reconstruction process.
The $21.4 billion question… Of the $21.4 billion promised by President Bush following the September 11, 2001 attacks, approximately $5.6 billion has been released so far. According to reports from the United States General Accounting Office* and others, the total amount received may be less than $21 billion – and we may never know how much less. Community and advocacy groups have raised serious concerns about the lack of equity, clear public benefits, and accessible public input process in the distribution of resources. * Report available at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d031174t.pdf
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ($8.798 billion) Funds have gone primarily to recovery-related costs, assistance to individuals, and renovation and new construction of mass transit infrastructure. In June 2003, additional funds were released to study health impact of attacks on fire fighters, police, etc. Liberty Zone Tax Benefits(approx. $5 billion In forgone revenue, although new estimates are lower) include: Employee tax credits (for example, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit) Depreciation allowance Private Activity Bonds (a/k/a Liberty Bonds) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) ($3,483 billion) Funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have been allocated to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) & Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) for use in revitalizing lower Manhattan. HUD waived the usual low- and moderate-income targeting restrictions on CDBG funds. Approximately $1.1 billion remains unallocated Transportation ($2,347 billion) The Federal Transportation Administration and Federal Highway Administration, along with FEMA, will control funds for intermodal transit projects and street level improvements in lower Manhattan Priority projects include a WTC transit hub, Fulton Street Transit Center and South Ferry Terminal. Types of Programs
Breakdown of Federal Funds Figures taken from “9/11: Two Years Later: An analysis of Federal aid,” Office of the NYC Comptroller, September 2003.
Opportunities for Input • Liberty Bonds ($8 billion authorized; $6.81 billion remaining) • The Mayor and the Governor control these resources • Allocations made so far have sparked outrage in community and advocacy groups • Public pressure through public hearings, media, etc. can have an influence on future use • Allocation of Liberty Bonds has created new opportunities to involve the public • CDBG funds: ($3.483 billion authorized; Approximately $1.1 billion remaining) • This is the only pool of unrestricted cash available for the post 9/11 revitalization of lower Manhattan • There is widespread interest in very different uses for these funds: Jobs and housing? Or major transportation projects? • Public comments, media pressure, and grassroots mobilization can influence use of remaining funds • HUD waived the requirement for public hearings when the LMDC allocates CDBG funds.
Liberty Bonds: Housing for whom? Only 50 of the 935 units financed by the State Housing Finance Agency will rent at non- market rates – affordable to households with incomes of $94,200 for a family of four. The mayor, through the City’s Housing Development Corporation, is imposing a 3% “origination fee” on City-financed Liberty Bond projects. Funds generated will subsidize affordable housing outside lower Manhattan.
Commercial Liberty Bonds: Helping Midtown Build Office Towers? $400 million for FC Ratner/The New York Times? $650 million for Durst/Bank of America $80 million for InterActiveCorp $400 million for Larry Silverstein/7 WTC $113.9 million for FC Hanson/Bank of New York $10 million South Street Seaport Convention Center
CDBG Funds Allocated • A total of $3.483 billion has been allocated to the ESDC and LMDC through HUD. • Approximately $1.167 billion went to businesses. • $320 million for large firms such as American Express and the Bank of New York. • $574 for small businesses, as measured by number of employees, even though many recipients were high-end stock brokers incorporated as individual companies. • $280.5 million for the Residential Grant Program. Source: Good Jobs New York’s analysis of LMDC’s Partial Action Plans as of 10/8/03
Liberty Bond Housing Coalition Calls for using Liberty Bonds to finance mixed-income housing. Current efforts include: advocating for an affordability requirement, extension of Dec. 2004 deadline, extension of boundaries beyond lower Manhattan. The City and State should extend HDC’s 3% fee policy to commercial Liberty Bonds to subsidize more affordable housing. LCAN – Liberty Jobs The Labor, Community and Advocacy Network is mobilizing around a plan to get people back to work through wage subsidy & public works programs Organizers are pushing LMDC officials to use a significant portion of the remaining CDBG funds to support high road jobs and job training. Pressure Points Officials’ Wish-list: Gov. Pataki may want to use the remaining CDBG funds to help pay for a rail link from JFK to lower Manhattan Mayor Bloomberg may want it to develop the East River waterfront.
Suggested Informational Resources State and City Agencies responsible for allocating CDBG funds or Liberty Bonds: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation: www.renewnyc.com Economic Development Corporation & Industrial Development Agency www.newyorkbiz.com Empire State Development Corporation http://www.nylovesbiz.comNY State Housing Finance Agency http://www.nyhomes.org/default.htm NYC Housing Development Corporation http://www.nychdc.com/ Government Oversight Reports: US General Accounting Office: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d031174t.pdf Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney and NYC Council Speaker Gifford Miller: http://www.house.gov/maloney/issues/Sept11/2yearslater/MaloneyMill erLettertoPOTUS.pdf MayorBloomberg’s commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers report: http://www.house.gov/maloney/issues/Sept11/102202_ NYLZ_Report.pdf NYC Comptroller: http://comptroller.nyc.gov/bureaus/bud/03-eports/911_report_full.pdf NYC Independent Budget Office July 2003 report: http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/