In the twilight of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure, a New York agency will vote next week to give developers $120 million in tax breaks for two of his signature projects: a new district of offices, apartments and shops on the far west side of Manhattan, and a hotel and mall in a Queens neighborhood filled with auto shops and junkyards.
President Barack Obama, setting a theme that he’ll pursue in the final years of his presidency, said growing income disparity in the U.S. is the “defining challenge or our time” and Washington must confront it.
The mayor of Bridgeview, Illinois, said building a taxpayer-financed arena for the billionaire owner of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire would bring hotels and restaurants to his suburb. Instead, the town has more than doubled property taxes and may raise them again to pay more than $200 million in stadium debt.
Sita Magar is a single mother of four who earns whatever she can wring from six goats and the muscle of a rented water buffalo. After paved roads end, it takes four hours to reach her farm along a trail where felled trunks, like twisted balance beams, span a raging stream. Even so, a recruiter feeding migrant workers into the global electronics industry found Magar in her mountainside Nepalese village last year. He convinced her to borrow more money than she’d ever seen, about $1,000, and pay him to get her daughter a position at a factory in Malaysia.
Harrisburg left potholes unfilled and raised income taxes as it sank into debt from an incinerator that was supposed to reap millions. Now, residents of Pennsylvania’s capital are days away from shedding the facility that drove the city to insolvency.
After Lyn Lyn Rael’s three-room house was swept away by Super Typhoon Haiyan, leaving her husband and five children homeless, she borrowed 25,000 pesos ($570), the equivalent of two months’ wages, from her employer in Singapore to send to her family.