Written by New York City Councilman and Republican Commentator Joseph Borelli, and published in the NY Daily News
I don’t have to ask my fellow New Yorkers how they feel about Donald Trump. I get your takes on every subway ride and at every Starbucks counter. You don’t like what he tweets; you don’t like what he says; he makes you really mad. I get it.
Yet whether you believe it not, the Trump administration has been pretty good for New York City.
Start with the obvious. The economy is booming and Wall Street is profiting in ways unseen since 2009. In 2017, the profits of firms trading on the New York Stock Exchange rose by 42%. While Trump has been in office, New York City and State budgets collectively added $22 billion of spending. Taxes collected on capital gains from city residents nearly doubled.
Yes, some of the boost in government revenues is due to people frontloading income to avoid the bite of tax changes, but the inherent strength of the economy is undeniable.
The Trump economy has also impacted New York City’s workforce, as we have gotten a good share of the 1.8 million jobs created since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs. Per September’s state Department of Labor report, the city has added 71,900 jobs this year, as private sector job growth roughly mimicked the national average. Now at 4%, the city’s unemployment rate is at its lowest point in history, and hourly earnings are up more than 7% since 2016.
Of course, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has a downside for many of us, especially those taking state and local tax deductions, which are now capped at $10,000 a year. But let’s be clear that New Yorkers claim the highest average SALT deduction because we pay the highest state and local taxes in the country. For that, you can blame just about every politician who represents you, except for Donald Trump.
Ironically, since renters were ineligible to claim property tax deductions, residents of the high-density neighborhoods that voted against Trump will, on average, fare better under the new plan than comparable neighbors of the low-density, owner-occupied areas of the city that supported him.
There’s more. The administration has also stepped in when local officials failed the 400,000 residents of NYCHA. After the city was filing false paperwork on lead contamination and otherwise letting its buildings fall into disrepair, the Trump Justice Department and HUD took action that resulted in the appointment of a federal monitor and forced the city to fund needed repairs and lead abatement. Even one of the Council’s most outspoken progressives, Ritchie Torres, has praised the work of HUD regional director Lynne Patton.
The politics of the border wall can be divisive, but it is part of an overall federal plan to combat fentanyl, which is now found in 57% of the city’s overdose deaths. China and Mexico are the world’s breadbasket of fentanyl and its analogs, and some of the largest quantities of it come to our streets through our southern border.
The Trump opioid plan goes beyond this, and has been bolstered by his expected signature on a massive just-passed bill. Most significantly, it lifts restrictions that prevent Medicare and Medicaid patients from access to long-term recovery programs. This will help thousands of New Yorkers now barred from better care, and give local facilities access to $3.8 billion in new federal funding.
Bashing Trump was part of Mayor de Blasio’s winning formula in last year’s mayoral race, and it looks like it’s being replicated by Gov. Cuomo and his ticket-mates at the state level this year. But residents of the city actually have reason to thank their New Yorker President: He’s been good for us.