All posts by NYBusDist

New York Transit System: Who Will Pay?

NYC Transit

The New York transit system has been in need of an overhaul for some time now.  to fix it however, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is short of around $60 billion.  that figure is actually twice of its current capital plan and so the question becomes what will happen with the much-needed renovations?

a commission has been set up to take this to the next level. chaired by head of the business-backed Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, the group commissioned a report that – surprise, surprise – requested more revenue.  Most of the commissioners (who also include former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Vierito), suggested a kind of toll to be applied to truck and car drivers going into Manhattan below 60th Street causing congestion.  this would actually raise $1b+ annually. 

Although this situation is hardly new.  going back a decade ago now, a 2008 commission was set up that recommended MTA funding sources.  that resulted in the 2009 payroll tax.  since then 10 percent of MTA’s $16.7 billion budget comes from New York downstate employees indirect tax.

So what is new?  The most recent report gave a whole slew of suggestions, one of which was to “acknowledge that the M.T.A. construct has failed and call for its dissolution.”  should that not be acceptable, another way to increase efficiency that was suggested was to hire an independent auditor to investigate capital costs of the MTA and thereafter reform its methods and streamline how orders are changed during the construction process.  in addition, there is a lot of money lost in fare evasion each year.  stamp down on that and you’ve gotten yourself $125 million extra annually.

These are just some of the 37 suggestions featured in the report. It’s definitely worth a try.

No Barriers Summit New York City

The No Barriers summit was held in New York City on October 5th and 6th.  This inspirational event is for everyone no matter what they are facing so that they can “unleash their potential.”  As Co-founder Erik Weihenmaker said: 

“I think the culmination of our journey is not when we stand on top of our summits pounding our chest saying look at me.  I think the real culmination is when we come down the mountain and we take the gifts that we have earned and we use them to motivate our lives and our communities and our families…and the world. That’s just the beginning…most importantly we do it to celebrate this life that we call No Barriers.”

In this video, you can get just a small feel for what transpired there.

Fifth Avenue Fame

5th Avenue in Park Slope was just recognized for its incredible contribution to the world of shopping.  The question really that should be asked however, is, is it really any surprise?  with its wide array of offerings from sex stores to superhero supply companies; community bookstore and women’s fashion, it makes sense that it was recently lauded for being “one of the country’s best small business shopping districts.”

What do the vendors in the area put this down to?  Mom and Pop stores which foster relationships.  One example where this is key on 5th Avenue is the Good Wine shop.  According to Heather Johnston, vlogger with So Good: Food and Wine it’s a family affair with the kids sitting around and drawing, and the parents shopping; something they all love.

One small business owner, Sam Tse added:

“I think the dynamics of the neighborhood are changing right now, and in order to keep us here, everyone should support our small businesses. Because otherwise, we are going to get replaced by the more commercial stores, and you’re not going to see small businesses around anymore.”

Local Business Conferences

Happening today, is a discussion held by executive management at South State Corporation (SSB).  Entitled Investor Day, this event – starting at 11am – will center around corporate strategies of the corporation as well as their financial performance. It will provide a good insight for institutional investors. While the actual event is invitation only, others can pick it up live via the website or 1-409-217-8783/ toll free 1-866-688-2179 (conference ID: #3473637).

The focus is guidance for investors, analyzing risk and minimizing uncertainties and flux. Certain factors – market conditions, expectations, timing, and more related to these conditions, business plan executions, geopolitical developments, natural disasters and more – can and do regularly impact the change in results from those that are predicted. As such, the SSB has an obligation disclaimer on updating of statements.

Another conference happening today is hosted by next-generation networking solutions company ADTRAN.  Now in its 5th year, the annual Cowen and Company Networking & Cybersecurity Summit is also happening today in New York.  Starting at 8am, the event takes place at Lotte New York Palace.  Items discussed are similar to those above and include: risks and uncertainties; fiscal situation; results of operation, and more.

Minimum Wage Increases

The first city in America that is enforcing minimum wage for app-based drivers (such as Uber, Juno, etc.) is New York City.  At the end of this month, the new pay rules will ensure that all drivers irrespective of which company they work for will be paid $17.22 at least per hour after expenses.

The rule came after a vote in favor of the law was carried by the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission at the end of last month.

According to Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro this resulted in “desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families.”  In a statement he added that:

“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America. We are thankful to the Mayor, Commissioner Joshi and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, City Council Member Brad Lander and all of the city officials who listened to and stood up for drivers.”

NYC enacted its minimum wage law in 2016 with the first increase on 31 December of that year to $11.  Only by 2021 is the minimum wage for NYC workers to reach $15.

Succeeding in New York in Business

In this recent Forbes article, an expert panel spoke to eight Forbes New York Business Council members “to share their most effective tactics for getting their company noticed and started on the path toward success.”

The individuals are:

  1. Samuel Mikail, SM Group Holdings Corporation
  2. Tracey Sawyer, Krause Sawyer
  3. Morris Levy, The Yard
  4. Sriram Padmanabhan, Cymorg Inc.
  5. Yana Zaidiner, Token Payments, Inc.
  6. Giac Capital, Inc & Giacopelli Accounting and Tax Services, LLC
  7. Hoda Mahmoodzadegan, Molly’s Milk Truck and F’in Delicious Beverages
  8. Philip Smith, PJP Marketing, Inc.

Minimum Wage in NY

Most New Yorker’s appreciate the increase in minimum wage.

Since 2016, minimum wage has been rising, from $9.70 an hour to a projected increase of $15 an hour by 2021. The rise in minimum wage means that employees can maintain a better standard of living.

“New York proudly set an example for the nation by raising the minimum wage to $15,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “The fight for economic justice for our working families continues, and we won’t stop until every New Yorker is paid the fair wages they deserve.”

However, some New Yorker’s are concerned that the increase in minimum wage means that employees will reduce their hours. Small business owners with limited budgets may find themselves unable to pay their employees.

Most New Yorker’s, however, are greeting the change in minimum wage optimistically.

The Changing Face of College Education

As a student, it is imperative to examine the end goal when choosing an educational path.  Especially given the perpetual growth of technology and the impact that has, one must be fully aware of possibilities of job opportunities in the future. As such, colleges have an important role here: to look at what subjects must be offered.

Thankfully there does seem to be awareness of this. At a recent roundtable discussion held in NYC, President G.P. “Bud” Peterson – the 11th President of the Georgia Institute of Technology – said:

“Higher Education is going to change. It’s going to have to change. What is that new model of higher education going to look like?”

At the event – organized by Georgia Tech – the conclusion reached by Peterson was threefold:

  1. Education is in flux from a calendar-based to a knowledge-based curriculum.
  2. Students will not be deemed successful just from a four-year course attendance; new definitions of success will have to be determined.
  3. Students (as well as teachers) will be recognized as educators.

Meanwhile, in an effort to reduce cumbersome college fees, some top academic institutions are removing that obstacle.  This summer, New York University School of Medicine announced that 500+ of its students will be eligible for free tuition – instead of paying the $55,018 annual fee for 2018-19 academic year. This will not depend on fiscal need/academic performance.  Students will just need to pay for other fees like housing and material (amounting to less than $30,000).

Other colleges throughout America are adopting similar low fee/no fee programs.