Eric Adams, the Democratic mayoral nominee who in all likelihood is going to win the election, is setting out to diverge from the current administration’s sentiments on business. While Mayor Bill de Blasio has remained quite hostile to the business community over his tenure, Adams has already publicly declared that “New York will no longer be anti-business” if he takes office. In his speech at a business conference in the city, Adams boldly added that “this is going to be a place where we welcome business and not turn into the dysfunctional city that we have been for so many years.”
So how has de Blasio treated business?
While he has come to grow closer with the real estate sector, his first mayoral campaign was focused almost exclusively on addressing the city’s inequality; he found this widening inequality turned New York into a “tale of two cities.” More recently, during the pandemic, many called on New York’s wealthiest residents to come back to the city. De Blasio, on the other hand, downplayed their necessity and highlighted how they had fled at the time when they were needed the most.
So what has Adams done, and will do, differently?
Although Adams also ran his campaign on addressing inequality, and was championed by top labor unions for doing so, he strategically utilized his police officer past to focus on combating crime – which happened to be the primary concern of New York’s business elite. Building off this shared interest, he quickly took an amiable approach to engaging with the business community, especially New York’s donor class. Additionally, he has pledged to travel to Florida to bring “former” New Yorkers home.
When comparing de Blasio and Adams side by side, Adams is clearly more oriented towards pleasing the business community. He wants to boost the life sciences, green jobs, and start-ups; he has been publicly supportive of charter schools; he retains very close ties to real estate; and he continually reiterates that public safety should be the center of the city’s economic recovery action plan.
His policy also shows this warmer tone. By building better, not to mention more, relationships with New York’s business leaders, many believe it will produce more public-private partnerships. Additionally, if he brings these business leaders into conversations on how to foster a more growth-oriented environment, the goal would be keeping them in the city or, if they choose to expand, their ties would still remain intact.
In the aforementioned speech, Adams even called on business leaders directly to partner with the city as it perseveres on its path to economic recovery. He urged small business owners to collaborate with the city on a number of business-oriented projects, such as a common job application, which both the public and private sectors are encouraged to participate in. In his words, “I’m proposing an unprecedented partnership between city employers and the city itself to make those connections and create one common application, one job application, to field all of the jobs you have available in this city. New York wants your jobs and we want to build them.”
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