After all they’ve suffered during the virus crisis, do you think what city restaurants and retailers deserve is more competition, of the kind that comes with inherent advantages and less regulation?
Of course not. Yet the City Council and Mayor de Blasio think so. The Council plans today, Jan. 28, to pass a bill that would radically increase the number of street vendors allowed to undercut traditional shops and eateries that pay rent and myriad taxes. With 3,000 permits out there now, lawmakers and Mayor de Blasio plan to add 400 a year for the next 10 years.
The bill contains some reforms to the vending system that would be good on their own, but jacking the number of carts up so much is unwise. And there’s no reason to believe the laws they’re subject to will be well-enforced. As Queens Chamber of Commerce President Tom Grech put it, “You have an avalanche of regulations on brick-and-mortar businesses and little or no enforcement on vendors. It’s an awful mix.”
People using the sidewalks in places like Flushing agree. Let’s hope future lawmakers reverse this one.