Monday, January 06, 2014
Decide NYC editor Ben Max gives a roundup of local politics, including the latest in the de Blasio transition and the New York City Council speaker's race. Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff describes the latest in Obamacare news. Plus: how some taxi drivers finance their medallion licenses, and the legal lessons to be learned from "Wolf of Wall Street."
Friday, June 14, 2013
We know you're wondering. Kate Hinds, reporter for Transportation Nation, discusses the new outer borough taxi plan and answers the basic questions: how does it work, who can ride, and who can drive? Cabbies, Livery Drivers, Passengers: What do you want to know about the new plan? Call 212-433-9692 or post your comment here.
Monday, June 18, 2012
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
As the city’s budget deadline looms, questions remain about whether a billion dollars in revenue from the auction of 2,000 yellow medallions — now held up in court — was a wise projection by the Bloomberg administration.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Post’s Fed Dicker, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his impression of his past year in Albany while looking forward to the next session, which begins in January.
“If you look at what we laid out in the campaign--if you look at what we said we were going to do versus what we did – I think it’s fair to say we had a very productive year," the Governor said.
He went on to laud the state legislature for its efforts (or willingness to accept his, depending on how you look at it) as well before turning to a number of high-profile topics. Here are the highlights:
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Governor Andrew Cuomo just sent out this statement on tax legislation negotiations that have been in limbo for weeks now. The deadline for the legislation to be passed before becoming nullified is quickly approaching. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the livery car industry have been pressing Cuomo to pass the legislation, while opponents from the disabled advocates community as well as medallion owners have been pushing for a veto:
Tomorrow, the Governor's office will be convening a summit of the stakeholders involved in the taxi legislation negotiations in order to resolve the outstanding issues. Among the outstanding issues are handicap accessibility of livery cabs, the transferability of and market for livery permits, livery and yellow cab pickups at airports, lack of financial incentives to purchase handicap accessible licenses, and concerns regarding the effectiveness of Taxi and Limousine Commission enforcement. As we have said all along, we are working very hard to reach consensus with the stakeholders in order to address taxi access issues in the five boroughs. The meter is running and this is the last chance to get a deal done before the end of the year. The issues are not primarily governmental ones among the Governor, the state legislature and the City. There are, however, remaining issues among the various stakeholders, business and advocacy groups whose interests must be reconciled.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
After reports surfaced that the outer borough taxi hail bill wouldn't be part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's broad economic stimulus bill, it appears the Bloomberg folks are ramping up their efforts to get it passed. Remember: the city is depending on $1 billion in revenue from the passage of the bill for its own budget gap closure. Courtesy of Bloomberg's Director of State Legislative Affairs Micah Lasher:
Over the last six months, the Governor has repeatedly expressed support for the goals of the legislation and also said he wanted to make certain changes in the form of a chapter amendment. He and his staff were finalizing an amendment this morning, but it was never sent to the Legislature. While the Mayor, along with legislative leaders, was prepared to support that amendment, it is not necessary to achieve the goals of the legislation.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Last week, the Bloomberg administration released some of their own budget figures. The city had been bracing for a $4.6 billion budget gap, but the Mayor's office reported that they'd revised the gap down to $2 billion.
Nearly half of that reduction is attributed to taxi medallion sales that are far from guaranteed. While bills have passed the legislature supporting the sales, Governor Cuomo has not signed the law, which has come underintense criticism since landing on the Governor's desk.
Now, critics are saying the Mayor's financial assumptions don't add up. "With all due respect to the Mayor, his livery street hail bill has become a failed budget gimmick that won’t work,"said Robert Familant with the Taxicab Service Association. "[T]he Mayor is trying to bootstrap his budget on a house of cards that will not only imperil tens of thousands of jobs in the private sector but is hinging the city budget on phantom revenues."
Familant pointed to the relatively high cost of owning a medallion as even more prohibitive should the much cheaper street hail permits become available through the plan the Mayor wants Governor Cuomo to sign into law.
"Who in their right mind would pay $1 million or more for a medallion when under the Mayor’s plan, they could lease a street hail permit for only $1500," Familant asked.
A request for a response has been sent over to the Mayor's office. If and when they get back to me, I'll update the post.
The Mayor's office sent over this statement from Micah Lasher, the Mayor's Director of State Legislative Affairs:
Perhaps Mr. Familant and other lobbyists for the large medallion lenders didn't read the bill: street hail permits would not allow pickups in the areas where yellow taxis make more than 95% of their revenue. Instead, the bill would legalize service in the many neighborhoods across the City that the yellow taxi industry ignores. That's why medallion prices have continued to skyrocket. Enormous profits for lenders and owners will not be threatened by our legislation.