Bill de Blasio, the mayor-elect of New York City is going to find a small treasure when he takes office in January: a budget surplus equal to $2.4 billion. The Independent Budget Office, which also predicted a surplus of close to $2 billion for the 2015 fiscal year, took the estimate. In summary, the municipality’s accounts are enjoying the best of health, even though there are still a few problems to face: Labor unions are advertising the renewal of contracts for their members and approximately $7 billion in back pay, and Michael Bloomberg has just given his successor a warning, recommending that he does not step out of line with health insurance for staffers and pension costs.
A New Silicon Valley in the Big Apple
As Maurizio Molinari writes in La Stampa, the final project that Bloomberg is passing on to his successor is a flagship in terms of economic development: I am talking about a new information technology campus which, starting from 2017, will produce close to 2,000 electrical engineers per year, giving rise to approximately 1,000 new start-ups by 2046, according to predictions. The “Genius School” will flourish in the middle of the East River, on Roosevelt Island.
“Our intent,” explained the outgoing mayor, “is to make New York an information technology capital, and this new campus is part of our strategy to achieve this goal. We are talking about one of the most long-term economic growth projects this city has ever seen.”*
The intention is to create a lucrative synergy between corporations and the university, stimulating the economy via innovation. This is a classic example of how culture can give rise to employment and business. The estimated economic activity is approximately $23 billion over 30 years. That is not exactly peanuts. And while the first classes on the campus will start in 2017, the courses at the Cornell Tech School have already started, hosted at Google’s headquarters. And if one of the web giants has faith in the undertaking, then it is probably a really good idea. The project will cost New York City $100 million — mostly for the land. That is a lot, but it is not insane. In fact, it is hoped that the investment will yield $10 billion over 30 years, creating approximately 48,000 jobs and 1,000 new enterprises.
Electronic Cigarettes Have Been Banned
The New York City council said yes to prohibiting the smoking of electronic cigarettes in those public places where smoking is already forbidden. Thus, Bloomberg has won his last crusade on health; once he signs his name on the measure, smoking in public places will be illegal in four months. The ban comes only a few weeks after another one on cigarette sales to minors under 21 years of age. New York is the first municipality to ban smoking electronic cigarettes in public places. Besides electronic cigarettes, polystyrene containers for food will also be banned.
*Editor’s Note: This quote, translated correctly, could not be verified.