IN PUBLIC SERVICE: My vision to Restore Brooklyn’s Economy as your next Borough President

June 11, 2021 By Robert E. Cornegy Jr.
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Anyone who works in Brooklyn should be able to afford to raise a family here as well.


A good-paying job is key to fighting the growing economic inequality that hurts so many middle-class and lower-income Brooklynites.

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As Brooklyn Borough President, I have an aggressive economic development vision that will grow economic opportunity, and make sure growth and prosperity are shared by all in our beloved borough.


Public-private partnerships are crucial to fostering economic growth. Industry City was a terrible missed opportunity — 20,000 jobs gone in the midst of the worst economic crisis in more than a decade. It’s a mistake that we cannot afford to repeat. It is easier to destroy than to build, but we won’t bring Brooklyn back by refusing to negotiate new development agreements that will create jobs. We cannot grow from nothing.

Instead, we have to demand and win more community benefits — workforce development opportunities for those in need; jobs for local residents; more green spaces; affordable housing; local traffic and cityscape improvements; and more. These are the community investments I will insist developers provide if they want to build in Brooklyn.

In my first weeks in office, I’ll convene a developers’ summit to lay out the clear expectations of developers when they propose projects. We will be vocal in demanding more public benefits from real estate developers, but we won’t be driven by ideology that reflexively opposes every proposal. Inaction, and letting empty lots stay vacant while thousands of Brooklynites struggle to make rent, pay bills, or put food on the table, is the absolutely wrong way to lift Brooklyn out of this pandemic recession. We need real opportunities to help our people, not empty rhetoric without real results.


Small businesses are the lifeblood of Brooklyn’s economy, and they have been hammered by the COVID crisis. In my first 100 days as your Borough President, I will launch a $10 million small business grant program to help these operators and their employees rebuild their businesses stronger than before. Whether local storefronts, mom-and-pops, digital companies, or community-based enterprises, keeping these businesses not just open but flourishing is essential to our economic comeback.


I’ve been a tireless champion of minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs), working everyday from my position as Chair of the M/WBE Task Force on the City Council to support and strengthen the growth of these companies. MWBEs are essential in creating jobs and economic opportunity for Black small businesses and entrepren- eurs, and I will continue my work to support M/WBEs as Borough President. My vision will provide workshops for BIPOC and local small businesses, including programs detailing eligibility requirements for city and state vending.


Costs continue to climb, and so many of our people have lost jobs or paychecks over the past year due to the pandemic. We need to increase New York City’s living wage for union and non-union employees to give families and workers the resources they need to build a great life for themselves, their families

and our communities.


Everyone deserves a roof over their head — it’s a fundamental human right. But New York City’s chronic affordable housing crunch has been dramatically magnified by COVID. My plan is to support families scraping to get by through a moratorium on rents; tax lien extensions to owners; and intensifying relief options.

Responsible development; support for small businesses and MWBEs; better wages; and greater affordability is the right formula to bring Brooklyn’s economy back stronger than ever after COVID. By forging tough, smart, fair agreements that protect local communities and residents, we will create the economic growth and opportunity that everyone deserves — including those at the bottom of the economic ladder looking for a way up.

That is the comprehensive economic development vision I will implement as Brooklyn Borough President.

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