As if New York's economy wasn't already stressed enough, there's a renewed push in the City Council for a local "living wage" law that could hinder the city's economic renewal while reducing job opportunities for the very people it is supposed to help.
The two New Yorks - city and state - were the nation's twin towers of public indebtedness long before the tragic events of Sept. 11 placed extraordinary new strains on their budgets.
Will the next mayor restore New York's battered, post-9/11 economy? The candidates' recovery plans don't inspire much confidence.
Most of Mark Green's answers come out of the 1930s. And while Michael Bloomberg seems to have learned a few lessons from the '90s, he's still reluctant to embrace the most growth-oriented elements of the Giuliani philosophy.
Giuliani took office declaring that city government was too big and taxes were too high. His first two budgets cut the headcount of city employees and reduced spending, setting the stage for both tax cuts and a series of surpluses.
The best that can be said of New York City's just-negotiated tentative contract with its principal public-employee union, District Council 37, is that it will expire relatively soon, in June 2002. Meanwhile, the agreement sets a costly precedent at a time when the city's budget picture is dimming.
New York's top congressional Democrats have given President Bush's ambitious plan for an across-the board tax cut a chilly reception. Senator Hillary Clinton warned that it "could derail the nation's economy and give New Yorkers higher interest rates and more unemployment."
In his budget message last month, Gov. Pataki called for constitutional reforms to control New York state's debt and ban non-voter-approved "back-door borrowing." But at the same time he quietly proposed a new form of back-door debt -- potentially the most significant change in the state's borrowing practices in decades.
Thirty-five years ago this week, New Yorkers awoke on a cold New Year's Day to find the city's bus and subway system at a standstill. The costly, two-week transit strike, which began the morning John V. Lindsay took office as mayor, inevitably was recalled among the low points of his tenure when he died last month.