14 The Courier sun • april 4, 2013 for breaking news visit www.couriersun.com PHOTO COURTESY OF MACERICH The Shops at Atlas Park will add two popular retail stores and enhance its entertainment green. Workers applaud pass age of Paid Sick Leave BY TERENCE M. CULLEN email@example.com Small businesses will soon be mandated to provide an allotted number of sick days, after a compromise on the much-debated legislation was struck on Thursday, March 28. Union leaders, advocates and city lawmakers came to an agreement on the Paid Sick Leave bill, which has been opposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, for the last three years. Quinn, however, brokered the deal. It will go to the City Council, where it’s expected to pass with enough support to override a Bloomberg veto. When the full bill kicks in a year from now, businesses with at least 20 employees will have to give workers at least five paid sick days. Companies with 15 or more employees must provide the same number of paid days beginning October 2015. All businesses, Quinn said when announcing the deal, will be required to provide unpaid sick leave beginning April 2014. The combined paid and unpaid days would benefit more than a million New Yorkers, while just under a million would be covered by paid sick leave, according to Quinn. Although publicly opposing the parameters of the plan for years, Quinn said she always supported the goals of the bill and striking an agreement was a matter of how and when. But, should the economy take another downturn, the bill, expected to pass the Council in late April, would be delayed until the city and small businesses can sustain it. The effects on small business have been a concern since Manhattan Councilmember Gale A. Brewer started pushing for the bill three years ago. This deal, Quinn said, found the balance on benefiting workers without hurting their employers. “It’s been my goal to make sure that when we provide this important benefit to millions of people who need access to paid sick leave,” she said. “We did it without creating an administrative burden on those businesses that currently offer the benefit when they can least afford it.” Advocacy groups and unions have reacted positively to the announcement. They have particularly applauded Brewer’s work and that workers don’t have to fear being fired to take a day off to rest, or care for another. “No longer will a parent have to make the impossible choice whether to stay home to care for a sick child or go to work to feed their family,” said Javier Valdez, co-executive director of Make the Road New York. 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa said the bill would set the bar nationwide for providing paid sick leave to workers. “We are telling not only New York, but the nation, that the time is right. The time is right to take care of one another. The time is right to make it easy for working people to provide for their families. And the time is right to be able to reconcile the interests of business with the interests of the majority of the working population.” The Queens business community also appreciates that the deal finds a balance between helping workers and not affecting merchants, said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud her Quinn’s efforts and the efforts of Councilmember Gale Brewer,” Friedman said. “We appreciate the fact that she listened to us throughout the process and we’re 100 percent behind her decision.” Bloomberg issued a statement after the announcement saying even the compromised bill would hurt the City’s economy. “Supporters claim it will only take effect if the economy is healthy, but there is never a good time to make New York City less competitive,” he said. “The bill is short-sighted economic policy that will take our city in the wrong direction, and I will veto it.” WE HAVE A BUDGET On-time deal means middle class tax cuts BY TERENCE M. CULLEN firstname.lastname@example.org Lawmakers in Albany, for the third straight year, passed an on-time budget when the Assembly approved the 2013-14 fiscal plan. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a video to New Yorkers, touted its early approval as a sign that New York was on its way back after years of dysfunction. “My friends, it is springtime and things long dormant show new life and rebirth,” he said. “That’s how I feel about our great state. New York is coming back. New York is rising and we are building on our strengths.” The budget was approved well ahead of the April 1 deadline, which is the start of the 2013-14 fiscal year. In past years, the budget was often weeks, if not months, behind schedule. Senators approved the budget during a late night session that carried into the morning of Wednesday, March 27. After a full day of debate, the Assembly voted to approve the budget just before midnight on Thursday, March 28. Middle class families will get their second year of tax cuts, Cuomo said. This, along with public-private partnerships, is part of New York’s low-tax, businessfriendly initiatives, he added. “Not since Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers have taxes in this state been so low,” he said. A tax on the “very rich” will stay in place, Cuomo said, adding he originally intended to remove the “millionaire’s tax.” The governor said he could not because it would cost the state $2 billion in revenue. More shops at Atlas Park BY MAGIE HAYES email@example.com A Glendale shopping center is scheduled for a makeover, ready for residents to enjoy this coming summer. The Shops at Atlas Park, which has struggled in recent years, announced the addition of two popular retail stores, Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe. Construction has also begun to update the property’s signature Center Green open space. “We are investing in The Shops at Atlas Park as an appealing centerpiece for this part of Queens,” said Liza Diaz, property manager for the site. “Our vision is to create not only a fine shopping destination with great dining options, but to establish a community gathering spot with the Center Green.” Macerich, a real estate investment trust, acquired ownership of the mall in 2011. In the past, residents have expressed frustration regarding store selection, but hope for a revamped center still remains. “Atlas Park has the potential to be a great economic engine for Glendale and the surrounding communities” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “Macerich has a proven record developing malls, and I believe the new stores and outdoor performance space will bring new life to Atlas Park.” The center court area will include new, movable glass kiosks for seasonal and specialty merchandise, as well as a 10,000-square-foot area designated for community events and live performances. Roughly 100 new parking spots will be added to the area, intended to improve convenience for shoppers and diners. Developers believe that the retailer additions are a “real fit for the dynamic community” of Glendale. This addition is just the first of many that Macerich hopes to make as it enhances the mall’s retail lineup, as well as other attractions. “This community is looking for a retail, dining and entertainment destination that feels modern, comfortable and family-friendly,” said Diaz.
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