Thursday, May 11, 2006

Small Business Going Bananas

The Crain’s Insider ($) reports today on our efforts to reign in and better regulate fruit and vegetable street vendors. We are in the process of drafting the legislation and will hopefully have a hearing shortly.

One of the reasons that the peddler issue is so nettlesome to legitimate store owners is that they also under constant attack from the Department of Consumer Affairs and the fine-collecting Environmental Control Board (ECB). We’ve already commented that the ECB is basically a kangaroo court where small businesses are assumed guilty, given the highest possible fines and therefore often don’t show up because they already know that protesting is useless.

As a response to this small business concern, 2 bills are being introduced – 64-a and 66-a – that clarify the ECB’s authority. There will be a press conference today at 9:30 where Councilman and Small Business Committee chair David Yassky, the Alliance and other small business groups will push for adoption of these measures. Though there are many other issues that need addressing, making sure that the ECB cannot use mom and pop businesses as their regulatory cash cows is an important step to improving the city’s business climate.