I often enjoy and praise our Comptrollers positions. I also firmly believe he has been maligned in the press due to his pit bull stance in reviewing vendor contracts, protecting our tax dollars, protecting worker rights and much more.
I do however strongly disagree with him on his stance related to his opposition to Fresh Direct. Besides New Jersey courting the various markets in the Bronx, Fresh Direct is a perfect match for the Hunts Point Area. ALL the businesses I spoke to in Hunts Point are excited about the introduction of Fresh Direct. Due to the business mix in Hunts Point, the synergy will be fantastic for the entire Hunts Point community. Besides the electronic trucks to be purchased by Fresh Direct from Hunts Point Based Smith Electric, besides the increase in business for all our world class markets in the Hunts Point, Fresh Direct will secure jobs for Bronx residents as well as creating new ones. It is not just the jobs created, but the tens of thousands of jobs to be saved by making sure all the markets stay in the Bronx. With all the billions given to other boroughs it’s about time the Bronx is getting something besides funding to build homeless shelters.
NEW YORK, NY – City Comptroller John C. Liu statement in response to questions on the Industrial Development Agency’s vote to approve a major subsidy for Fresh Direct:
“Today’s $100 million subsidy to Fresh Direct was already a done deal from the moment it was announced last week and the reality is that my vote today does not change the outcome. Nonetheless, I cannot vote for this subsidy in good conscience. There may be more ways to ensure a better return on this investment.
“For the cost of this benefits package the city could give 4,385 students full, four-year scholarships to CUNY or hire 1,458 new teachers or pay for 350,000 GED test-prep programs or launch a micro-lending program for minority and women entrepreneurs.
“The EDC has not clearly justified why this much money should be used to subsidize this company. This subsidy seems to give away too much in exchange for the jobs and economic development it promises, despite the rosy numbers provided by the EDC.
“A few months ago, the EDC attracted a world-class university by promising $100 million in capital for a project that by their own estimate will generate 30,000 jobs. Now the EDC is giving close to $100 million to create 962 jobs. The cost to the City is $93,000 for each new job.
“Fresh Direct does appear to have support from elected officials, labor leaders, and the workers and we understand and concur with the sentiment that to keep jobs in New York City and create jobs in the Bronx are high-priority objectives.
“This agreement comes on the heels of the city’s decision to have taxpayers fund the estimated $180 million Ferry Point golf course. That the Fresh Direct deal was announced before the public even had a chance to comment is symptomatic of this badly flawed process.”