Finding  Common Ground Between
New York Business and Labor



May 19, 2010 


  Budget Battle 

For details, click the title or scroll






Bruce VentimigliaBy Bruce Ventimiglia, Co-Chair BALCONY, chairman and president of Saratoga Capital Management, LLC, an asset allocation company.

New York State is facing a financial crisis the likes of which it has never seen.  In addition to facing a $9.2 billion budget deficit, this year will mark the first time ever that the state's general fund will operate in the red in May and June.  The provision of vital state services is in jeopardy.  For example, repair and renovation of New York's bridges and roads has largely come to a halt putting thousands of jobs and New Yorkers' safety at risk.  In addition, huge cuts to education, health care, and human services are being considered.  Furthermore, at a time when our fellow New Yorkers are already choking on their taxes, new taxes on soda, mortgages and vehicles are being proposed.

BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, endorses temporarily reducing New York's stock transfer tax rebate from a 100% rebate to an 80% rebate to help ensure that New York can continue to provide essential state services.  In addition, we call on our elected officials in Albany and throughout the state to make responsible choices as they realign our state's budget.

The stock transfer tax is essentially a sales tax on the transfer of shares of stock.  The tax has been in effect since 1905, however the money collected from the tax is currently collected and then rebated in full.  The tax was fully collected until 1979 when it became rebated at 30% - the rebate was raised to 60% in 1980 and to 100% in 1981.  The stock transfer tax was a national tax between 1914 and 1966.  In fact, many foreign stock exchanges have a transfer tax in place, often at considerably higher rates.  London, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Switzerland and others have such a tax, all at higher rates than what is being proposed here.

The money collected by the tax before rebates in the 2010 fiscal year alone was $14.5 billion.  If just 20% of that was not rebated, New York State would raise close to $2.9 billion in taxes which would remove approximately one-third of our projected budget deficit.  This will help us to continue to provide essential services to our fellow New Yorkers, including education, health care, and human services.  This is an immediate solution to our dire budget crisis.  This tax is already in place, thus it would cost nothing to set up and could begin generating revenue for our state immediately.  Further, this tax would be a temporary tax and not punitive nor retroactive.  The collection of this tax should be structured in a manner such that it is collected from those who are in the strongest financial position to pay it, while not unfairly burdening small investors.

Finally, many of BALCONY's members work on Wall Street and many of their family members and friends rely on the revenue from Wall Street to survive, which is why BALCONY is endorsing what we believe is a non-punitive, common sense, temporary revenue enhancer that will not unfairly nor disproportionately impact the bottom line of our Wall Street firms.  We recognize and appreciate the many contributions Wall Street makes to the success of our great state.  At a time when Wall Street is experiencing record profitability we ask all of our friends on Wall Street to further help New York fortify its foundation to help us to provide vital services to our fellow New Yorkers and to continue to provide a sound operating environment for the world's financial capital - Wall Street.



Alan LubinBy Alan Lubin,

The future of New York State demands that a solid foundation of respect exist between state government and its workforce. That respect cannot exist if the public and private sector workers who retain state contracts cannot count on those contracts being honored.

On May 10, with the state budget over 40 days late, Governor Paterson and the Legislature voted yes to a new emergency spending bill that includes a one-day-a-week furlough on state workers -- an unprecedented and misguided move that would unfairly place the burden of New York State's financial crisis squarely on the shoulders of our state's most valuable resource, it's workers.

Thankfully, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn has enjoined the governor from pursuing the furlough option, but the very fact that the governor sought the furloughs in the first place indicates a critical lack of respect on the part of the governor for the contracts the state has entered into with its workforce.

Read the entire article: Alan Lubin




FPI Report:
New York
has the Ways & Means:
How and Why
Wall Street
Should Give Back to
Main Street


Sensible options for closing the state budget gap meet three goals:

1. To support rather than undermine the needs of New York families.

2. To minimize the negative impact of this year's budget decisions on the fragile state economy.

3. To require the New York financial industry - which bears responsibility for much of the negative impact on the state's economy and finances since 2007, and which has now realized enormous profits because of the taxpayer-funded bailout - to contribute a fair share to Main Street's recovery.

Read the full report: FPI



Look to Wall Street for Help

By FRANK MAURO, FPI's Executive Director and RON DEUTSCH, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fitness

First published in Times Union on
April 12, 2010.

With New York, like other states, still reeling from a devastating national recession, Gov. David Paterson and the Legislature are proposing budget plans that rely overwhelmingly on cuts to essential public services. This, they imply, would hurt the economy less than a more balanced approach that includes some economically sensible revenue choices. Nothing could be further from economic reality.

Read the entire article here: HELP




Labor Briefing 

with NYS Comptroller
Thomas DiNapoli
NYC Comptroller
John Liu


aarp  aarp

    John Liu    Thomas P. DiNapoli


Welcome from
Michael Mulgrew, President, UFT


Comptrollers discuss the state economy and issues facing working New Yorkers

Thursday, May 20, 2010

United Federation of Teachers
52 Broadway, New York City

9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Please RSVP to Kathy McCormack, Director of Labor Affairs,
at (518) 473-8409 or





In Honor of Anne Frank's
81st Birthday

Anne Frank

The Anne Frank Center Presents

The 14th Annual
Spirit of Anne Frank Awards

June 14, 2010

6:00 pm
Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction

7:30 pm
Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Harmonie Club
4 East 60th Street
(between Madison and Fifth Avenues)

For Additional Information
please contact

Lisa Wainer: (212) 517-5415 Lisa@lweventsnyc.com

Please Respond by June 4th



Save the Date!

June 25, 2010



Chris Ward,
Executive Director of the
Port Authority of NY & NJ

What: Port Authority of NY & NJ Capital Plan for 2010-2011.

Where: New York and Vicinity Carpenters Labor Management Corp.

395 Hudson Street, NY NY 10014

When: June 25, 2010, 8 a.m.



CALL BALCONY: (212) 219-7777



Battle Paterson Furloughs

NYC PEF/CSEA Protest (May 14)


On Wednesday, May 12th, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn enjoined Governor Paterson from moving forward with his plan to furlough state employees, saying it would cause "irreparable harm" to the state's workforce.  The judge was responding to legal challenges brought by a BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, labor coalition.

The ruling followed an unprecedented move by the New York State Legislature, which voted Monday, May 10th, to approve Governor Paterson's latest emergency spending package, which included a one-day-a-week furlough for state workers.

Immediately following the vote  a coalition of BALCONY members, including three of the state's largest unions representing state employees, PEF (Public Employees Federation), CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association), and UUP (United University Professionals), in conjunction with NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) sued the governor claiming the furloughs are illegal and violate labor contracts. 

Alan Lubin, Co-Chair of BALCONY, called the governor's abrogation of union contracts "unacceptable." "BALCONY supports our members in their efforts to reverse what may well be a watershed decision by our embattled governor, and we are confident that the courts will recognize the supreme importance of government honoring its contracts with state employees."

aarp"Governor Paterson has a right to be wrong, but CSEA has a right to respond when he is. We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect the interest of CSEA members and the services we provide for the people of New York," said Danny Donohue, President of CSEA.

Phil SmithPhillip Smith, President of UUP had this to say, "I am disappointed and frustrated over this turn of events. But know this: we will fight this unlawful act with all administrative and legal means at our disposal.  Our attorneys have filed a temporary restraining order as part of a lawsuit in Federal Court today to block the furloughs. We will also file a contract grievance and an improper practice charge to protect our members. We will not stand still for this blatant breach of our contract."

Smith insisted that the unions were willing to go to the bargaining table but had been rebuffed by the governor,  "Last week, I reached out to the governor's office and asked to speak with Gov. Paterson about alternatives to the furloughs. A staff person from the governor's office told me today that Gov. Paterson is not interested in negotiating alternatives right now, despite his public claims to the contrary. That's what we know."

aarp"The governor continues to insist that breaking contracts negotiated in good faith are the only way he can generate savings from the state work force. He knows this is untrue. PEF has provided the governor with alternative budget solutions that would avoid such hardships.  PEF will be immediately filing for a temporary restraining order to stop the illegal furlough plan and protect our members from irreparable damage the loss of income will cause," said Kenneth Brynien, President of PEF.

RIannuzziRichard Iannuzzi, President of NYSUT, said, "This illegitimate and misguided measure is a violation of contracts that were negotiated in good faith, and would hurt families and take money out of the economy at a time when so many of our communities and businesses are already struggling financially.  It would also interfere with the education of tens of thousands of students in our public higher-education system at a critical time of year, when professors are grading final papers and preparing final exams." 

Even as the Legislature prepared to vote on the spending bill there were serious concerns about the legality and constitutionality of the furloughs.

SSilver"It's not possible," State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver told reporters following a meeting of the Assembly Rules Committee. Silver said he intended to vote for the budget extenders even though the believes it's illegal for the governor to furlough state workers. "I believe the court will overturn it," Silver said. Senate democrats passed a toothless resolution expressing their opposition to the bill before voting on it, expressing their discontent at being forced to choose between furloughs and a complete shutdown of the state government.

SavinoState Senator Diane Savino (D-S.I., Brooklyn) asserted that the governor had left the legislature with a no-win "Hobson's choice".  "He's asked us to legalize an illegal act," Savino said. "I'm not happy about it, but the alternative is much worse."

Other unions have voiced solidarity in the struggle to repeal the furlough. 

JSanoJoe Sano, executive director of OMCE, the Office of Managerial and Confidential Employees, said the furloughs, "...solve nothing.  In fact they are a deterrent to having all parties sit and talk as equals to resolve this mess.  OMCE proposed a plan in February that would save the state money and still provide for the statutory increases that were promised.  The State's management and confidential employees want to see this budget resolved with restored 3 and 4% wage increases and everything else they have lost in the last 3 years."

aarpDanny Donohue, President of CSEA, called Judge Kahn's decision to block the furloughs "a major victory for working people," contending the plan would have added "even more chaos and crisis" to the struggle to balance New York's books.

Phillip Smith, President of UUP, added,  "This restraining order affirms our contention that the furloughs are unconstitutional, and we are confident we will also win the lawsuit."

Judge Lawrence Kahn also ordered the governor to include previously negotiated raises to the union employees in any new emergency spending plan he brings to the table.  The governor had suspended raises for state employees in a spending bill passed early last month. 

Judge Kahn has set a hearing on the dispute for May 26.

Click here for the initial ruling by Judge Kahn:  Kahn

Albany Rally

Albany Rally



General Contractors' Legal Battle Continues

GCNYUnions representing New York's state employees are the just the latest groups to file suit against the governor in relation to his mismanagement of the current budget crisis.  The General Contractors Association of New York filed a lawsuit against the governor last month in response to Paterson's decision to freeze pay-outs for state road and bridge construction and renovation projects.  That case is still ongoing. 

 Read the full press release: GCANY 


Schumer, Gillibrand
Support Education Jobs Bill
$1.4 Billion for NYS

New York's two U.S. senators are voicing strong support for legislation moving through Congress that would help school districts to pull back most - if not all - of the estimated 15,000 pink slips now being handed out to New York teachers and other education professionals.


SchumerAddressing New York State United Teachers' 38th Representative Assembly in Washington, D.C., U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pledged to work hard for swift passage of the $23 billion Keep Our Educators Working Act. Both Gillibrand and Schumer are co-sponsors of the new legislation, which would direct $1.4 billion to New York for one year which school districts would be required to use to retain education jobs. The money could not be used to retire debt, lower taxes or be put in a reserve fund.

Schumer said the cuts proposed by school districts facing a $1.4 billion shortfall in state aid "should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares about the future of education, and the future of New York's children."


GillibrandGillibrand, speaking to 3,000 union delegates immediately after Schumer, said, "Laying off teachers and support staff would be disastrous for our communities and for the future of our children."

NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the timing is critical - the jobs bill must be adopted soon, as soon as possible to stave off damage in the classroom. "The devastating cuts proposed for schools would further undermine our economic recovery while setting back our education progress by years. The state's dire fiscal situation is not our students' fault, yet they will feel the impact now - and for the rest of their years in school."






633 Third Avenue, 16th Floor 
New York, NY 10017



Lou Gordon - BALCONY Director

BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, represents more than 1,000 New York businesses, labor unions, and trade associations.

BALCONY seeks common ground in the public policy debate in New York to spur economic development through the adoption of business/union friendly, socially responsible common sense laws that maintain and improve the quality of life for working New Yorkers.




Editor: Nicholas Kapustinsky

Design: Kevin R. Weaver