NYC Corporate Leaders Create PAC to Boost Clout in Washington

(Bloomberg) -- The Partnership for New York City, a civic group of more than 300 corporate chief executives, created a federal political-action committee to push for projects and legislation considered crucial to the economic future of the most populous U.S. city.

The organization for several years has run a PAC empowered to make donations to state and local candidates. The organization filed papers May 4 with the Federal Election Commission to create the new committee.

The Partnership decided to become a player with targeted donations to candidates for Congress after President Donald Trump administration’s opposed sharing the cost of a $13 billion plan to fix century-old rail tunnels under the Hudson River and build two more. The project, which was supported by former President Barack Obama, is vital to the future of the region’s $3 trillion-a-year economy, said Kathryn Wylde, president of the organization.

The Partnership’s bipartisan board -- 75 leaders of some of the largest U.S. financial and manufacturing companies -- is seeking more national political impact. The agenda pursued by Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress places the city at risk with a tax bill that hurt most New Yorkers by limiting deductions for state and local income and property taxes, and by threatening federal aid to punish the city for protecting undocumented immigrants, Wylde said.

“Since the financial crisis, there’s been a sense in Washington with representatives from other parts of the country that they are less sympathetic to us on issues that really matter,” Wylde said. “We felt we needed the capacity to respond when our interests are threatened.”

The Gateway Project, considered one of the most important infrastructure needs in the U.S., would replace a century-old Portal North Bridge leading to the two existing trans-Hudson rail tunnels badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and adding two new tunnels, at a cost of $13 billion. New York and New Jersey have agreed to fund half that amount, and President Barack Obama promised that the federal government would pay half. Trump refused to continue that assurance.

The Partnership’s members represent a broad array of industries including banking, Wall Street, media and real estate. Its board includes James Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Loews Corp. CEO James Tisch and Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The idea grew out of an effort 15 years ago by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the Partnership’s members to carry business cards with a New York-centric policy agenda written on them to distribute when partnership members would meet with or donate to members of Congress, Wylde said. The former mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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