New York's Not Exactly "Open for Business": Report

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Governor Andrew Cuomo earned a big, fat D in a recent grading of his fiscal policies by the Libertarian Cato Institute.

This, of course, comes as the governor has declared New York "open for business."

Cuomo's D  -- on a scale of A through F -- might have a little bit to do with a different group's ranking New York dead last in terms of how business-friendly its tax policies are.

Of New York's governor -- who is eying a run for the White House in 2016 -- the Institute says the following:



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Brand It, Post It, Sell It: How Millennials Are Reshaping Business As We Know It

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Laura Murray, an FIT student by day and live music photographer by night, has a fascination with exposure: "Being able to show people things that are going on all over the world sounds incredible." She admits on her website that she has a "slight case of wanderlust" and her dream job would be a band's designated photographer. To satisfy and achieve both journeys, she had to start off with basic grassroots marketing that required little cost: she handed out promotional marketing cards anywhere she snapped photos at, made up stickers with her name on them and assisted photographers in every way possible. 

But her biggest obstacle was the ambiguity that came with a popular form of artwork like photography: she had equipped herself with skills in the field throughout high school and college but she also knew that thousands of other people her age could muster those same talents.

"It seems that everyone with an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera these days wants to get into photography, just no one knows your name," she said. It was her goal to stand out among the rest - a credo of the entrepreneurial spirit. In the usual fashion of small business, she had to brand herself. And what better way to do that by using her name.

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Veto! Bloomberg Rejects Wage Bills, Says City Council Proposal Would Kill Jobs

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via nyc.gov feed.
As expected, Mayor Mike Bloomberg today vetoed the City Council's wage legislation, but unlike his past public comments on the matter, he didn't go so far as to compare the bills to Communism.

Still, if the legislation passes, Bloomberg will sue.

The proposals in question were the prevailing and living wage bills, which essentially would require that businesses pay employees higher wages -- $10 an hour plus benefits, instead of the current $7.25 minimum hourly wage -- at some city-subsidized developments.

The bills are significant because they have come to represent a politically important challenge for City Council Speaker Quinn, a mayoral hopeful who has been forced to navigate the competing interests of business and labor leaders in negotiating the legislation. Additionally, the living wage battle has pitted the mayor against Quinn, who has typically been seen as the potential successor most aligned with Bloomberg's views, especially given their pro-business records.

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Christine Quinn Loses Major Business Group Support for Living Wage Bill; Says 'Writing Legislation is Difficult'

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Sam Levin
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, expected to run for mayor in 2013, addresses reporters today.
Christine Quinn, faced with the challenging task of simultaneously negotiating the interests of labor groups and business groups in a new living wage bill, has lost the support of the city's major business organization -- a disappointment for the City Council Speaker, who is expected to run for mayor in 2013.

The surprising news last night that the business group Partnership for New York City would no longer support the bill was a major shift from what was said at a press conference in January when Quinn was able to bring together business leaders and labor leaders and announce a compromise that both sides could stand by.

"Unfortunately, the original group of supporters we had that day in January are not fully intact at the moment, which is a disappointment, but I'm very proud and glad with the final version we are getting to," she told reporters this morning.


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Chinatown Property Owners Say City Illegally Charged Them BID Fees Before BID Even Existed

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via Supportchinatownbid.org
A before and after shot from the BID's website.
Some Chinatown property owners didn't really want to be part of a Business Improvement District in the first place. Now a group of them are claiming that the city illegally charged them fees corresponding to months before the BID even officially existed.

The city told the Voice yesterday that it is correcting that error, but that's doing little to appease some frustrated business owners.

These BIDs, which are public-private partnerships, are intended to revitalize neighborhoods and support economic development through a partnership of local property owners and commercial tenants. Businesses pay annual fees that BIDs charge for cleaning sidewalks, picking up trash, and other local efforts.

To those who didn't want to be a part of a Chinatown BID in the first place, the alleged financial mishap is an extra slap in the face, especially as businesses are struggling to stay afloat during a tough economy.

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Interactive Map App Shows You Everything In New York City in Real-Time

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Map enthusiasts and social media aficionados, rejoice! A website and iPhone application that is officially launching today is taking the concept of mapping to a whole new interactive level that might forever change your physical and virtual existence as a New Yorker.

In all seriousness, though, this thing's pretty cool -- CityMaps, a one-stop shop map site and iPhone app, integrates hyperlocal data with all kinds of social media functions so that users can browse around and make plans based on real-time information coming from across the city.

Here's how it works: The map, which aims to include the name and location of every storefront on every block, is connected to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and all the other cool networking sites kids are using these days. CityMaps users can browse what's around them, find out what other people have said and are saying about these establishments, and get info on what kinds of deals or events these businesses are having at that moment. All in a user-friendly, visually-intuitive format!

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Morgan Stanley's PR Department Suffers Particularly Bad Week -- Compliments Of Hookers And Racism

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www.inquisitr.com
So, Morgan Stanley really took it on the chin in the PR department this week...

The public relations beat-down is the result of two of the financial giant's employees' suspected involvement in two fairly serious, but unrelated, crimes -- in one case, one of the company's bigwigs pleaded not guilty this morning to charges that he, in a drunken rage, stabbed a Middle Eastern cab driver while screaming "I'm going to kill you, you should go back to your own country.

The company's other public black-eye stems from one of its financial advisers getting placed on leave amidst suspicion that he was involved in a prostitution ring with a Manhattan mother of four.

If it's any consolation, Morgan Stanley's stock prices, as of 1:37 p.m., are up 29 cents.

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Resistance is Futile: UWS Shopkeepers Fight (Inevitable) Domination from Chains

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New York continues its onward march toward looking just like the rest of America.

From the New York Times: "The proliferation of chain stores, banks and pharmacies in the past decade or so has robbed many neighborhoods of the quirky one-of-a-kind shops that give those places their distinct personalities."

Yep. Sounds about right.

Anyway, the City wants to stop this from happening in the Upper West Side: The Department of City Planning would cap the ground-floor width of all new stores to 40 feet on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues -- and would limit banks to 25 feet. Broadway would also be included.

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RentStuff.com Wants to Become the 'eBay Meets Facebook' of the NYC Rental Market

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Just one of the items you might rent on RentStuff.com.
Most New Yorkers are pretty O.K. about renting things, at least when it comes to our living spaces. As for those living spaces, we're pretty resigned to them being on the small side -- so small that we might have to rent additional storage space for, say, our skis or summer wardrobes or collection of whatever it is we happen to collect. But would you prefer to just rent that stuff in the first place? RentStuff.com, founded by 29-year-old twin brothers Chris and Robert Jaeger, thinks you would. Chris Jaeger describes the site as "a eBay for rentals, or an enhanced Craigslist for the rental marketplace." There's a social component, too, a/k/a, "eBay meets Facebook for the rental market."

Jaeger lived in New York City for 6 years and says the idea for the site came from his own frustrations about living in the city, in a small apartment shared with four roommates. He says, "I'm an avid outdoorsman, and I wanted to rent equipment for a mountain bike trip. The process of finding a bike was one of more frustrating experiences I've had -- I had to leave work early on a Friday, go across the city to get it, and then I had to do the same to get it back. I realized that the bike I wanted was probably in my own building, and if I could just connect with people in my community, this would all be so much easier."

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Mike Bloomberg and Christine Quinn Cut Ribbon for Bronx's First City-Sponsored Business Incubator

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Mayor Mike Bloomberg fondly remembers his days as a small business owner and likes to share the joy of successful entrepreneurship with New York City start-ups.

This time, in the Bronx.

The mayor announced today the first city-sponsored business incubator in the borough, which will be part of the city's growing network of incubators designed to help startups transition into successful companies.

"Embracing New York City's entrepreneurial spirit -- that is a central part of our administration's strategy for creating jobs and putting more New Yorkers to work," he told a crowd of reporters in a swanky new office inside the landmark BankNote Building, (which used to be a penny factory!) in Hunts Point.

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