New York Office Renovations

Additional reporters are being hired in Fox News’s New York office, as a response to the increase in need in the digital journalism field. 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan will undergo some reconstruction to accommodate this.  one floor at the Newsroom’s headquarters will become open-space for journalists, bringing them up from the basement.  This will result in editors and reporters being “brought out into the open” as it were.

According to Rupert Murdoch the initiative represents a “major investment in the future of FOX News,” adding that it indicates his personal “unwavering confidence” in the company.  Any kind of current internal politics that is being discussed (such as the ousting of FOX News’ co-founder and chairman Roger Ailes) is therefore not an issue, with this action.

Meanwhile, at the Yonkers Public Library renovations are set to begin.  A while ago it was realized that the project had to be undertaken, given the fact that concrete panels were really falling apart – something that had two-to-three decades in the making – and were now posing a safety threat! Work is now slated to begin on this by the summer; the focal part being the front of the building and part of the southern side – in the children’s library.  Phase two will require a borrowing from the city of $2.4 million, required for the building’s north and back sections.

New York: Then and Now

Beginning in the early 20th century this footage from Business Insider gives a visual insight into the changes encountered in NYC from then, until now. In this video we see when the Big Apple first became lively and how the city has evolved and how it has remained the same.

Publicizing New Yorkers’ State Tax Returns

Should a proposed legislation go ahead in New York, the country’s bigwigs could soon be forced to publicize their state tax returns.

The Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act (aka appropriately nicknamed the TRUMP Act) — would require the state to publicly post state tax returns of anyone elected in a statewide election to federal or state office.  The data would then be available to everyone online.

Senator Brad Hoylman (who sponsored the bill) also introduced another bill which would mean New Yorkers on a statewide ballot would have to release their federal tax returns as well.  Hoylman believes that “New York has the responsibility to ensure that voters know if presidential candidates have potential conflicts of interest before they cast their ballot.”

Please May I Be Excused?

Absolutely if you’re privy to the newly-renovated Manhattan public bathrooms.  Free of charge, there are three stalls for women and two for men (with three urinals as well) and have a 310 square feet division.  Located behind the New York Public Library, they feature artwork, classical music, fresh flowers and imported tiles.

The renovation – privately funded by the not-for-profit Bryant Park Corporation – has been (not surprisingly) extremely well-received by tourists and residents alike who are thrilled with the renovated facilities.  In addition to Bryant, Toto (Japan’s Number 1 sanitary ceramics manufacturer) and Brill Hygienic Products Inc. (America’s sanitary toilets and clean toilet seats manufacturing and distributing company) donated to the cause.

Bryant Park executive director Dan Biederman was likely to have been pleased with the final product, as he said: “ we strive for perfection and only settle for excellence.”  Clearly they’ve achieved their goals!

A few years ago, Bryant Park itself underwent an overhaul, given its propensity to urban decay and crime.

New York Business News

Some businesses are expanding into New York.  Two of note are Toronto-investment bank Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. and skincare company Glossier.

With its upcoming expansion and move Canaccord will be able to offer its Latin American institutional clients access to global markets, providing equity and fixed-income sales and trading.  According to new MD of the firm, Alejandro Rebelo, the reasoning behind this move is clear: “Latin America fund managers are treated like kings in their own nations, but aren’t big enough to get all the attention needed from large international banks.”

Further, this will provide Canaccord with more revenue within the firm’s US securities umbrella.  And as Global Head of Sales and Trading Mark Whaling said, staff there will comprise “largely U.S. equities focused, but also will do business in options and fixed income, which represent about 20 percent of their revenue base.”

NYC will also now be home to Glossier, with the added benefit of 200 more jobs at the company’s new headquarters.  Located at One SoHo Square, 161 6th Avenue, Glossier in 2017 was named one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2017 by Fast Company Magazine.

Agreement Reached!

Following on from last week’s post when we discussed the hope of a budgetary agreement enabling students under a certain household income to receive free tuition for CUNY and SUNY, this happened.  New York State’s budget increased by 2% to $98 billion, encompassing a 4% increase for education

Here, News World TV gives the latest.

New Fiscal Benefits to NY Students

Putting a kid through college in America is not a fiscally simple feat. Nationwide, it is pricey. Looking at New York as one example, the City University of New York put out a table for how much it would cost a New York state resident living at home for tuition. For 2016-27, at State University of New York Systems (SUNY) it’s $6,470, the City University of New York (CUNY), $6,330 and a private college, $36,630.

Now though, that could all change. With a deal recently announced by Andrew Cuomo together with state legislative leaders, tuition at both CUNY AND SUNY could be free. For families with an annual income of up to $125,000 sending kids to community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, the plan – phased in over three years – would start this September beginning with those with incomes up to $100,000. Having been hailed as an “historic” move an estimated 940,000 New York families would be eligible for this program, once it is fully in system.

Although it appears that all would be rosy, there are some concerns – even for pro-free public college tuition advocates. The issue is the conditions. For one to receive free tuition, they have to provide proof that they are living and working in the state of New York for the same time period that they are getting the free tuition. The only loopholes in this are if recipients need to leave a) to finish their undergraduate education, b) enroll in graduate school or c) extreme hardship.

In addition, there are two other measures contained in the plan to enhance college affordability:

  1. $8 million for the promotion and distribution of free online educational materials for SUNY and CUNY students.
  2. A grant of up to $3,000 for students attending private NY colleges with such colleges matching the grants and freezing tuition while the grant is in place.

NY’s Labor Law Policies

There are currently no laws/regulations in New York that deal with payroll debit cards and how to use them.  According to the NYDOL (New York Department of Labor), when used voluntarily, payroll debit cards are allowed. Last year a rule was established by the NYDOL for supplementary requirements to use direct deposit consent forms as well as payment by payroll debit card – a rule that was meant to become effective last month.

As such, for those employers paying their employees with payroll debit cards, they would not be able to use this for paying salaries without the employee being able to use at least one ATM offering withdrawal with no fees as well as a way of withdrawing the entire salary for each pay period or the remaining balance (without having to pay a fee).

However, a month before it was to become law, it was invalidated and revoked by the New York State Industrial Board of Appeal, reasoning that the NYDOL did not have the authority to take on the rule due to prohibitions and restrictions outside the Labor Code. The rules, argued the Board “go beyond regulation of the employment relationship and into the area of banking law, which is outside respondent’s competence and expertise in the regulation of employment and occupational safety and health.”

Furthermore, employers are not allowed to prevent employees from asking about/discussing their wages with a colleague.  Employers are allowed to restrict employees who have access to salary data of other employees, according to New York Labor Law §194(4).

Contained in a fact sheet provided by the NYDOL, on the matter of regulated speech between employees, it was written that: “[s]uch restrictions may not specifically reference the inquiry, discussion, and disclosure of wages.” Thus employers would be allowed to tell staff members to discuss matters directly related to their job duties during designated work periods, but this cannot be extended to salary discussions.

Impact of New York’s PFL

For years, campaigns have been undertaken to fight for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits throughout the nation.  New York finally has its own Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (article 9 of the Workers Compensation Law), that is to become effective January 1, 2018. As it is New Yorkers have been doing well over the years being one of very few states that force employers to give disability benefit coverage to workers for illness or injury (caused out of work time).

Now, New York’s PFL is making things even better. The result of Governor Cuomo’s New York State’s 2016-17 Budget, once in place, this will mean that anyone who has worked for at least 26 consecutive weeks (175 days for part-time workers) will be eligible for paid family leave benefits.  In addition, these individuals will have the right to a leave of absence and guaranteed reinstatement.  This would also be the case for those who do not come under the protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For employers this law will enforce a review of family and medical leave policies, benefits, agreements, etc. in an attempt to ensure full compliance.


Family-Owned NY Businesses

According to Westfair Communications correspondent Peter Katz, “family-owned businesses form the foundation of the U.S. economy.” Statistically this means that around 64 percent of America’s GDP comes from these businesses with 36 percent of all employees working in the family businesses.  In addition, for the economy, 40 to 46 percent of all annual sales come from family-owned businesses.

But how successful are these family-run businesses?  According to recent data from the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, only 16 percent of businesses are successfully transmitted from a founder to the next generation.  The numbers continue to diminish through each generation, reaching a mere 2 percent by the fourth generation.

But there is some good news for New Yorkers, as was seen at the 2017 award ceremony for Westchester and Fairfield counties’ family businesses.  According to Dee DelBello, Westfair Communications Publisher, these counties comprise “the most diverse, successful and community-minded family businesses…Family-owned businesses are the backbone of our country and its economy, and that’s just as true for Westchester and Fairfield counties.”

One of the award winners was Mamaroneck’s Walter’s Hot Dog Stand.  Recipient Christine Warrington accepted the award together with her children.  She is a third generation family member to run the company which was launched in 1919 by her grandparents.  Today, her three children aged 39, 31 and 27 are all working to “continue the legacy of Walter’s.”

if so much of America’s economy is dependent on family-run businesses, wouldn’t it make sense for more people to at least give it a try?