Some are painting a bleak future for the city’s economy, but Comptroller Brad Lander said Thursday he is optimistic that the city can adapt.
During an appearance on “Mornings On 1,” Lander acknowledged that the costs of living in the city are rising, and with an influx of migrants continuing to arrive, there is an increased pressure on the city’s social services.
Mayor Eric Adams in October estimated that the city would spend $1 billion to support migrants over the coming months. However, the comptroller believes that the increased immigration could actually benefit the economy in 2023.
“New York has thrived for generations on immigrants coming here and bringing their creativity, their entrepreneurship, their energy,” Lander said.
He said as long as migrants can secure work authorizations, and the federal government steps up to “pay its fair share,” he believes New York City can see a lot of financial growth.
“What you want is a growing economy. That’s why immigration has been such an important driver for the city,” Lander said.
The comptroller said it’s smart for the city to invest capital into supporting migrants, and he will continue to pressure Congress to send resources for shelters and affordable housing – not just for migrants, but all New Yorkers.
To do so, Lander is also backing proposals to turn some unused Midtown Manhattan office buildings into affordable housing.
“In Midtown, I think there's some opportunities for residential conversions that the city doesn't necessarily have to pay for, if you let somebody who’s got a Class B or Class D office building convert it to residential – maybe build a little higher than that building is – you know, we need housing all over the city, so I think that's an opportunity,” he said.
Though, Lander said the city is going to have to “tighten its belt” in 2023 and look to cut spending in meaningful ways to “invest in what helps New Yorkers thrive.”