MTA TO JETS: IT’S A TOUCHDOWN
On March 31, the MTA unanimously approved the New York Jets’s bid to build a stadium on the Far West Side of Manhattan.
The New York Sports and Convention Center, which will include the new Jets Stadium and an expanded convention center, is expected to provide a major boost to tourism and, by extension, New York’s entertainment industry. Local 802 has been actively involved with a coalition of labor, community, and business organizations supporting the plan.
The Empire State Development Corporation and the Public Authorities Control Board must still approve the plan. The city and state must also approve almost $600 million in subsidies. Concerned for its own competing interest, Madison Square Garden remains the main opponent of the plan.
BATTLING CORPORATE TAX BREAKS
The 2005-2006 New York state budget contains a revenue proposal called the “Single Sales Factor.” This proposal would significantly alter how taxes are collected from corporations. Taxes will only be based on the business a company does in the state of New York, as opposed to its overall profits.
This is a proposal to benefit large corporations that are attempting the same maneuver in every state with a corporate income tax, thus further eliminating tax liability. These corporations under a “sales only” system will continue to make extensive use of public services funded by the people of the state while continuing to contribute little or nothing to funding what they use.
The state AFL has been engaged in a variety of public education initiatives to combat this proposal. In addition to lobbying elected officials, they have been publicizing statistics from other states that have passed similar legislation with disastrous effects. To find out more about this effort, please visit www.nysAFLCIO.org.
DOCTOR, I’M BANKRUPT
According to the journal Health Affairs, nearly 50 percent of all personal bankruptcies are caused by overwhelming healthcare costs. Middle and lower income individuals who own their own homes and have some college education are most likely to be paralyzed by medical costs, the study found. Many employers have tried to defer rising healthcare costs by shifting the burden to employees. Advocates warn that as more healthcare expenses get transferred to consumers in the form of higher premiums, deductibles and co-insurance, the problem will only get worse. Study author Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Forbes, “Nobody is safe in our country. Short of Bill Gates, if you’re sick enough long enough, you’re likely to be financially ruined. We’re all one serious illness away from bankruptcy.” Over 1,700 questionnaires were filled out in bankruptcy courts across the country. More than a third of those surveyed said the costs associated with a specific medical problem caused them to file for Chapter 11. When researchers included repetitive illnesses and regular medical bills, the number increased dramatically. There are a number of initiatives working to deal with this crisis. The Healthcare Security Act (www.NYHealthcareSecurity.org) seeks to provide coverage for over 150,000 working New Yorkers. In Albany, the Working Families Party (www.WorkingFamiliesParty.org) is pressuring the legislature to expand coverage of the uninsured and force the state to aggressively negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower prices.