March 22, 2024

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In the News-New York State

Comptroller DiNapoli: 2023 Wall Street $34 Billion Bonus Pool Relatively Flat Over 2022

Average Bonus for Employees in NYC’s Securities Industry was $176,500

The average annual Wall Street bonus dipped to $176,500 last year, a 2% decline from the  previous year’s average of $180,000, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s  annual estimate. Wall Street’s profits were up 1.8% in 2023, but, according to the Comptroller, firms  have taken a more cautious approach to compensation and more employees have joined the securities  industry, which accounts for the slight decline in the average bonus. 

“Wall Street’s average cash bonuses dipped slightly from last year, with continued market  volatility and more people joining the securities workforce,” Comptroller DiNapoli explained. “While  these bonuses affect income tax revenues for the state and city, both budgeted for larger declines so the  impact on projected revenues should be limited. The securities industry’s continued strength should not  overshadow the broader economic picture in New York, where we need all sectors to enjoy full recovery from the pandemic.” 

The $33.8 billion bonus pool for 2023, was well below the 25% growth seen in 2020  ($37.1 billion) and the 15% jump seen in 2021 ($42.7 billion), but slightly over the pre-pandemic high  of $32.1 billion. 

Comptroller DiNapoli estimates that the securities industry accounted for approximately  $28.8 billion in state tax revenue, or 27.4% of the state’s tax collections, for State Fiscal Year (SFY)  2022-23, and $5.4 billion in city tax revenue, 7% of total tax collections for City Fiscal Year (CFY)  2023. 

In 2022, bonuses generated $447 million less in state income tax revenue and $204 million less  for the city compared to the prior year. Comptroller DiNapoli projects the 2023 bonuses in New York  City’s securities industry will generate $4 million less in state income tax revenue and $2 million less for the city when compared to the previous year. The Governor’s proposed budget assumed bonuses in  the broader finance and insurance sector would decrease by 2.7% in SFY 2023-24, while the city’s CFY  2024 financial plan assumed a decrease of 7.8% in securities industry bonuses.

In 2023, the sector employed about 198,500 people, up from 191,600 the prior year. DiNapoli  estimates that 1 in 11 jobs in the city is either directly or indirectly associated with the securities  industry. Financial services firms reported 65% of employees were in the office on any given day in  September 2023 (post-Labor Day), compared to 58% for all firms in the city, according to the  Partnership for New York City’s survey. 

Governor Hochul Initiates Assessment of the Office of Cannabis Management 

Governor Kathy Hochul this week initiated an assessment of the Office of Cannabis  Management to identify opportunities for improvement and begin implementation of a strategic plan for  the long-term success of the legal cannabis rollout.  

Commissioner for the Office of General Services Jeanette Moy will serve as lead and executive  sponsor of the effort, supported by State government leaders. 

“Today, we take the first step in revamping New York’s legal cannabis industry to ensure its  long-term success,” Governor Hochul said. “I have full confidence in Commissioner Moy’s ability to  identify areas that need improvement, establish standards and processes across agencies, and jumpstart  the next phase of New York’s legal cannabis market. 

According to the Governor, Commissioner Moy will “embed” in OCM for a minimum 30-day  sprint to assess the agency’s organization. As part of the plan, several goals have been identified,  including: 

  • Top-down review of organizational structure, processes, and systems with a focus on  improving OCM license processing times and application-to-opening timeframes for new  cannabis retailers and businesses. 
  • Develop key performance metrics and an executive-level licensing dashboard to provide the  Executive Chamber with a timely, accurate, and comprehensive picture of licensing activity  for legal retailers. 
  • Identify and implement changes to policy, procedure, and regulation (within the bounds of  the MRTA) to streamline the licensing process and simplify application and review for  prospective licensees. 
  • Develop three-month and six-month action plans with organizational change initiatives,  milestones, and actions to continue improving agency functions while developing a world class licensing and regulatory agency for New York States’ cannabis industry. 

Commissioner Moy will access resources from OGS, the Office of Information Technology  Services, and other State agencies to support the development of systems and dashboards. Additionally,  OCM leadership and staff will work with Commissioner Moy to help streamline the assessment process. 

According to the Governor, following the initial 30-day period, the potential for external  consulting may be considered to support a second, longer-duration phase of the effort.

In the News-New York

NYS Department of State & Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement Enter Settlement to End Illegal Short-Term Rental Operation Run by Licensed Real Estate Broker

New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez and New York City Mayor’s Office of Special  Enforcement (OSE) Executive Director Christian J. Klossner announced a resolution of an $845,000  settlement that shuts down an illegal short-term rental operation at two Manhattan buildings. The  settlement satisfies investigations by both the State and City involving real estate brokers Mega Home  and Katherine Cartagena. 

According to the OSE lawsuit, the defendants converted multiple permanent residential dwelling  units at 311 East 51st Street and 207 West 75th Street in Manhattan to advertise and operate illegal  short-term rentals.  

Between 2019 and 2022, records show that Airbnb disbursed more than $2 million to the  defendants for more than 550 short-term rentals involving over 2,000 guests at the two buildings. In  response to OSE’s enforcement, the defendants removed all illegal listings and will now settle for a  citywide permanent injunction and $845,000 in restitution. Ms. Cartagena also agreed separately with  DOS that she advertised illegal transient rentals in violation of the law and that should she do so again,  her real estate license would be revoked. 

“New York is in the middle of a housing shortage crisis which makes returning a long-term  rental unit to the housing market crucial,” said Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez. “The Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services will continue to collaborate with our city partners to ensure the  laws are being followed and that violators are held accountable.”  

The investigation leading to the lawsuit brought by OSE was based on data obtained through the  city’s Booking Service Data Reporting law before the city’s short-term rental registration law went into  effect in 2023. New York City’s booking service data reporting law requires online short-term rental  platforms to periodically provide OSE with information about transactions for certain listings. These  reports include the physical address of the short-term rental as reported to the booking service by the  host, the URL of the short-term rental listing, details pertaining to the scope of the short-term rental transaction, and information relating to the identity of the host, including contact information and  associated bank accounts to which payouts were made. 

New York City’s short-term rental registration law, which went into effect in January 2023,  requires rental hosts in New York City to register with the city and prevents platforms like Airbnb from  processing transactions unless the registration information matches a city database. 

“Safe, stable, and affordable housing is fundamental to a prosperous city, and with our short term rental reporting and registration laws we are stopping illegal operators from impeding our housing  goals,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Today’s settlement sends a clear message that we will  not allow anyone to use our valuable housing stock for unlawful personal gain.” 

NYC Comptroller: Providing Legal Services to Immigrants and New Arrivals in NY “Could Yield Billions in Economic Benefits”

Providing universal legal representation in immigration proceedings in New York could generate billions of dollars for the economy and enable tens of thousands of individuals to stay in their  communities, according to New York City Comptroller Brad Lander’s new report, Economic Benefits of Immigration Legal Services. The report also finds that asylum seekers currently living in City shelters  could earn a collective total of over $470 million.  

“Immigration is a boon for New York City’s economy – immigrants are more likely to work,  start a business, and contribute billions of dollars into our New York economy in spending power and  tax revenue,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “Investing in immigration legal services will bolster New  York City’s bottom line by keeping workers in the workforce, getting new arrivals work authorization,  keeping families together and providing pathways to upward mobility.”  

Specifically, the Comptroller’s report finds:  

  • Providing access to attorneys for all immigrants in New York State facing deportation  proceedings could result in an additional 53,000 New Yorkers being able to remain in  communities across the state.  
  • Preventing deportation of these 53,000 New Yorkers could result in an estimated net benefit of  $8.4 billion for the federal, state, and local governments, calculated as the net present value over  30 years of new tax revenues less services received.  
  • The approximate earning potential of asylum seekers in City shelters is over $382 million and, if  the federal government granted all working-age asylum seekers work authorizations, that earning potential could rise to over $470 million.  

The Comptroller’s report analyzes the potential economic benefits of enacting the Access to  Representation Act (S999A/A170A – sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz) which guarantees that any New Yorker facing deportation has a right to an attorney; the  economic detriments of deportation; and the potential earning power of the approximately 64,800 new  arrivals in New York City shelters upon receiving work authorization. 

“Immigration is a central part of New York’s story, yet our immigration courts are in a state of  disarray. There are currently around 330,000 cases pending in immigration courts in New York State  and less than half of those people have lawyers to represent them,” said Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal.  “According to the New York City Comptroller’s office, this law would likely result in an additional  53,000 New Yorkers remaining in our community. The Comptroller’s report also shows that the net  benefit of preventing these 53,000 deportations for our State, Federal, and Local budgets would be a  staggering $8.4 billion.” 

According to the Comptroller, the current wait time for the first immigration court hearing for  asylum seekers or others seeking legal status is estimated to be four years, due to the backlog of cases.

Bills Approved by the City Council

Introduction 45-A, sponsored by Council Member Rita Joseph–Requires the Department of Education (DOE) to report the actual class size of all classes in DOE  schools and programs. This bill would also require the DOE to report, on a district, borough, and  citywide level, the number and percentage of students in special programs, disaggregated by program  type, grade, race or ethnicity, gender, special education status, and English language learner status. 

Introduction 228-A, sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson–Requires the NYC Department  for the Aging (DFTA) to make information available to older adults about NYC Care, the NYC Health + Hospitals initiative to provide low- or no-cost primary health care to income-eligible NYC residents.  DFTA would be required to provide eligibility guidelines for the initiative, clarify it is not based on  immigration status, and ensure information is available in paper form and at all locations where DFTA  services are provided. 

Introduction 349, sponsored by Council Member Sandy Nurse–Clarifies that required reports on the  removal of individuals experiencing homelessness from public spaces, and the services offered and  outcomes, are to be submitted on a quarterly basis. 

Introduction 653-A, sponsored by Council Member Pierina Sanchez–Extends the Rent Stabilization  Law from expiring on April 1, 2024, to April 1, 2027, based on the declaration of an ongoing housing  emergency from findings of the 2023 Housing and Vacancy Survey. 


NY’s Expanded Move Over Law to Include All Stopped Vehicles on Highways Beginning March 27th

Starting March 27th, drivers will be required to take precautions, including slowing down and  moving over, to avoid a crash with all vehicles stopped along the roadway. 

New York’s Move Over Law first became effective in 2010 to prevent collisions with emergency vehicles that were stopped on the roadway. It has been expanded several times to also cover hazard  vehicles, highway worker vehicles, and tow trucks.  

In 2023, Governor Hochul signed legislation to further strengthen the law by including this  protection for all vehicles stopped on the roadway. Under the law, when a driver is approaching a  vehicle stopped along either shoulder of the road, they should: 

  • change into a lane not immediately adjacent to the vehicle. 
  • slow down to a reasonable speed if unable to safely make a lane change. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all 50 states have Move Over laws to protect law enforcement officers and other first responders, yet one-third of Americans are not  aware of these laws. 

Governor Launches Effort to Protect New Yorkers Ahead of  Total Solar Eclipse on April 8th

The Eclipse effort includes statewide distribution of limited-edition I LOVE NY eclipse glasses at 30 locations throughout the state – including New York State Welcome Centers and select service areas along the NYS Thruway. In addition, the Governor expanded an I LOVE NY campaign to urge New Yorkers to take proper safety precautions during the eclipse.

The eclipse will begin in western New York shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern

Daylight Time on Monday April 8th. Full totality will begin in Chautauqua County at 3:17 p.m., moving through the state to Plattsburgh at   3:25 p.m.

New York Pharmacists Can Now Provide Hormonal Contraception Without a Prescription 

Governor Kathy Hochul this week joined New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James  McDonald at College Parkside Pharmacy in Albany to sign a standing order authorizing pharmacists to  dispense three types of hormonal contraception medication without a prescription. 

The standing order signed by the State Health Commissioner pertains to three types of self administered hormonal contraceptives that are approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration to prevent pregnancy, which include: oral hormonal pill, hormonal vaginal ring, and the hormonal  contraceptive patch. 

Pharmacists who choose to participate can dispense up to 12 months of a self-administered  hormonal contraception of the individual’s preference and covered under their insurance. 

The New York State Board of Regents voted on March 12, 2024 to approve an emergency  amendment that was necessary before the State Health Commissioner could issue the standing order. 

NY Launches the North Country’s $10 Million Next Move NY Workforce Development Initiative for Transitioning Soldiers 

Governor Kathy Hochul this week announced that the application is now open for the  $10 million Next Move NY initiative – the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s  award-winning strategy to strengthen workforce opportunities for transitioning soldiers and their  families.  

Next Move NY will consider projects that will create a workforce development program to retain  local soldiers and their spouses by providing opportunities that support, educate, and train the more than  3,600 soldiers that transition out of service at Fort Drum each year. Intent to propose applications may  be submitted through Friday, May 3rd. 

Mayor Adams Demands Water Bill Dodgers to pay Debt or  Risk Losing Water Access 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala this week announced that the City has initiated the next phase of its collection enforcement actions against approximately 2,400 chronically-delinquent water service  accounts that owe the City a total of $102 million.

As part of the effort, DEP will send out ‘Water Shutoff Notices’ to these customers, informing  them that water service to their property could be shut off unless the entire owed amount is paid or they  enter into a payment agreement within the next 15 days. This enforcement action is targeted towards  commercial properties, including hotels, office buildings, and retail spaces, as well as one-to-three  family homes that have not responded to any of DEP’s extensive outreach efforts over the past year.  

Earlier this year, DEP sent out ‘Water Shutoff Warning’ letters, which resulted in the agency  recouping more than $3 million dollars from more than 400 overdue accounts. During the pandemic,  DEP saw a significant increase in the number and balance of delinquent accounts. The total of  delinquent payments nearly doubled to $1.2 billion. 

Shutting off water service can have serious consequences and may subject property owners to  code violations by the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York City Department of  Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Fire Department of the City of New York, as well as the potential  for an Order to Vacate the Premises. 

Coming Up

New York State 

Monday, March 25th 

New York State Assembly, Assembly Chamber, 2 p.m. (Tuesday through Thursday are TBA) New York State Senate, Senate Chamber, 3 p.m.  

Tuesday, March 26th 

 New York State Senate, Senate Chamber, 3 p.m.  

 Wednesday, March 27th 

 New York State Senate, Senate Chamber, 3 p.m.  

 Thursday, March 28th 

 New York State Senate, Senate Chamber, 11 a.m.  

New York City 

Monday, March 25th 

Committee on Veterans, Committee Room – City Hall, 10 a.m. 

Tuesday, March 26th

Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, Council Chambers – City Hall, 11 a.m. 

Thursday, March 28th 

Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations, Committee   Room – City Hall, 10 a.m. 

Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Elections, Council Chambers – City Hall, 10 a.m.   

 Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting’s, and Dispositions, 250 Broadway – Committee Room,   16th floor,11 a.m. 

Committee on Land Use, Committee Room – City Hall, 1 p.m.

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