Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Vendors Redux

With all of the Bronx Terminal Market discussion yesterday we didn’t have a change to comment on the vendor legislation that the mayor signed into law. Basically, no longer will proof of citizenship be a requirement for holding a vending license.

We do have a number of philosophic issues with the whole approach to immigration in the city which goes against the idea that people should be in compliance with the laws of the country that they apparently want to so much be a part of. Somehow, this sentiment is labeled anti-immigrant.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Alliance represents thousands of immigrant business owners so we understand the importance of new immigrants to the economic foundation of this city. However, this doesn’t mean that we believe in encouraging people to come into this country illegally. In addition, the porousness of our borders does create security issues in an age of terror.

Real Issue for the Alliance

Our main problem, however, is not with the just signed legislation but with the direction that the groups who were behind it want the city to take. As Gerson’s NY Sun story points out, the advocates feel that the current law is now enough:

It's a positive step forward, but the main problem is there's sill a limit on licenses and permits," the director of the Street Vendor Project at the nonprofit Urban Justice Center, Sean Basinski, said.
Of course there is another bill pending at the Council that would do just that – increase the number of vending licenses issued. If these advocates had their way the streets of every commercial strip would be clogged with vendors draining business away from tax-paying, rent-paying owners. There is a limit to a market and the 200,000 small businesses that pay over 4 billion dollars a year in taxes, not to mention fines and violations, deserve protection from their government.