By Josefa Velasquez
5:47 p.m. | Dec. 8, 2014
ALBANY-State Senator Jeff Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference, has proposed a two-pronged program to use the state’s $5 billion windfall from bank settlements for a modern-day version of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Klein’s “New Deal for New York” would use part of the bank settlement money to create a new program called Empire Public Works, dedicated to upgrading the state’s infrastructure.
In an interview with Capital, Klein said the infrastructure projects in the program would be required to pay prevailing wages, which would apply to agencies like the M.T.A., housing authorities, and bridge and tunnel authorities, which don’t always pay prevailing wages.
“It’s money that I believe was stolen from the taxpayers from financial institutions accused of financial crimes against New Yorkers,” he said in a phone interview, adding, “It certainly makes sense that this infusion of cash go right back in to the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers.”