COVID-19 dealt a heavy blow to New York City’s economy, causing restaurants, shops and museums ― including some iconic institutions ― to close. The unemployment rate in September was 14.1%, more than double the 6.5% rate outside the five boroughs. The city government now finds itself staring down a deficit projected to grow to nearly $5 billion in the next fiscal year.
The solution, counterintuitively, could be to throw money at the problem. A 40-page proposal unveiled Tuesday calls for spending $16 billion over three years to expand bike lanes, retrofit city buildings and public housing with solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades, and boost green manufacturing on the city’s industrial waterfront. An estimate made using the Political Economy Research Institute’s methodology pegged the number of jobs that would be created as part of the plan at more than 101,000.
About half the plan could be paid for through state and federal funds, its authors said, but it would still require about $8.4 billion of the city’s $92.5 billion budget. But it has strong backing from environmental groups, labor unions and about one-fifth of the City Council.
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