NYC Approves Recovery Zone Bonds for Project that Won’t Aid Recovery

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The New York City Capital Resource Corporation (CRC) is blurring job numbers on stimulus bond projects again. On December 15, 2009 the CRC’s board voted to issue $19.8 million in tax-free Recovery Zone bonds on behalf of Arthur Management Corp. to finance the construction of a parking facility in the Bronx. The facility will serve St. Barnabas Hospital, which created Arthur Management in order to be eligible for the financing.

CRC staff insisted the new facility will create six permanent jobs. What they didn’t mention was that 28 jobs will be displaced when the old facility is torn down because the new one will rely heavily on automation, allegedly saving the hospital $500,000 a year. Good Jobs New York staff and organizers from the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) who testified against the deal questioned the logic of using stimulus bonds intended to “contribute economically to the neighborhoods in which projects are located,” as the city’s own criteria state, for a project that could result in a net loss of 22 jobs.

Even the argument that saving a hospital some money aids recovery doesn’t hold up in light of the millions in bonuses St. Barnabas, despite being in financial straits, recently gave to its top executives. The hospital has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars–and plans to spend more–attempting to overturn a 1999 National Labor Relations Board decision that cleared the way for resident physicians to legally unionize. In the meantime, the NLRB was obligated to impound secret ballots generated when staff voted earlier this year on whether to unionize, an indication that St. Barnabas’s relationships with unions and its employees is less than the standard New Yorkers should expect from companies seeking public subsidies.

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