Fact-Checking Mayor Bloomberg's State of the City Speech

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivering his 10th state of the city address in Staten Island Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivering his 10th state of the city address in Staten Island (Richard Yeh/WNYC)

Some quick fact-checking on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s State of the City speech.

No. 1:  “Last year we passed Boston in venture capital funding in technology, putting us ahead of every place but Silicon Valley."

The Mayor’s office points to this survey.

VERDICT:  Yes, but….

The mayor said VC funding in technology.  There’s a lot of VC funding for things other than tech.  WNYC’s Lisa Chow reports that the National Venture Capital Association said last year, up to the third quarter, the total amount of equity invested in Boston was $1.66 billion.  The total amount of equity invested in NYC was $1.36 billion.

NVCA will be releasing fourth quarter numbers on Friday. The PR contact took a peek and said they follow the trend.

The numbers, based on data from Thomson Reuters, is compiled by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

No. 2 - “Recently, New York was named the number one city for young entrepreneurs.”

The mayor’s office pointed to this report.

Jared O'Toole, with Under30CEO, a site for young entrepreneurs that provides workshops, networking events and other tools to help small businesses growth, spoke with WNYC’s Ilya Marritz. The site surveyed its 100,000 monthly readers and asked them to nominate and vote for what cities they saw as the best for young entrepreneurs.  About 1,200 responded.  Though unclear how many responses came from residents of New York City, about seven percent of all readers are from here.

Online surveys, though, can inherently be flawed. 

VERDICT:  Murky at best.

No. 3 - “We have created jobs at nearly twice the national rate. And compared to the rest of the state our job creation rate is eight times as high” and “We have added 51,000 private sector jobs.”

James Brown with the New York State Department of Labor said that for the 12 months ending in November, jobs in the private sector grew at 1.6 percent rate in New York City.  Nationwide, the rate was 1.0 percent.  For New York State as a whole, the rate of increases was 1.1 percent, but that includes New York City. Brown cautioned that the mayor could be using numbers that adjust for seasonal changes.

Brown said the city has added 51,000 private sector jobs as of November

VERDICT:  Sort of yes and definite yes

No. 4 - As for the city helping people find jobs, the mayor said, “Last year, as tough as the economy was, our Workforce One centers connected New Yorkers to more than 30,000 jobs – compared to only 500 in 2005.”

WNYC’s Cindy Rodriguez reported 75 percent of the jobs were full-time. The rest were either part-time or temporary. Seventy percent of hires were still employed after six months. Among the jobs are nurses aide, customer service rep and bookkeeper.


No. 5 - “From now on, we will add a new incentive: any restaurant that earns an ‘A’ – either on its initial inspection or on a re-inspection – will not have to pay one penny in fines for any violations found on that inspection. Not one penny.”

Erin Hughes with the city’s health department confirmed in an e-mail that “if a restaurant gets a letter-A grade from the Department of Health for overall cleanliness on either the initial inspection or re-inspection, they will not have to pay fines for any violations found on that inspection.”

One observer did note, that for all the talk about the city’s budget and economy, the mayor didn’t mention likely cuts from Albany and how that could impact the city’s economy.

VERDICT:  Restaurant owners: a fine free world is in your future if you clean up your act.


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Comments [2]

It is unfortunate that politicians, pundits, and other know-it-alls are using public servants as the scapegoats for the financial woes of our municipal and state government ills. The responsibility for the fiscal issues facings government belongs to the same political leaders who rather than raising property taxes or developing other revenue streams, play around with the 'books' using financial tricks to cover expenses. It is reasonable to want to change the retirement benefits paid to government employees, but it is patently unfair to pretend that changing retirement benefits for them will save state and city budgets. The changes that need to be discussed are not the retirement age, it should be at what age retirees can collect their pension; it should be how much contribution employees should be expected to make; it should be the length of service before collecting retirement benefits; and is should be the same policy across the board for all employees, uniform and ununiformed. And it should be better management of pension funds, including holding investment firms accountable for their investment decisions; naturally it MUST be enactment of rules and regulations barring the deferment of funding or actual use of pension funds in budget calculations.

Jan. 20 2011 01:23 PM
rwinsten from 10520

Richard Winsten
We all know the huge cost that the States have suffered because of massive pension fund losses caused by the financial cris caused by the too big to fail banks and the aider and abettor credit rating agencies..

Add to the list of additional ...State costs, huge interest payment liabilities for borrowing to pay unemployment insurance benefits necessary to provide for the unemployed due to the crisis.

Again, no serious financial consequences for the too big to fail banks and their aiders and abettors while the States, local government, taxpayers, workers, all are left holding the bag.

Happy New Year! Which NYS service budget cuts will offset the pension liabilities and unemployment interest costs. You will be able to draw a straight line.See More

Jan. 20 2011 11:26 AM

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