Monday, February 05, 2007

Bloomberg's "Crusade" Against Burdensome Regulations

In today's NY Sun Jill Gardner writes about the effort, launched by Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer, to stem the tide of the exodus of financial firms out of New York: "In an effort to stop businesses from fleeing New York, Mayor Bloomberg is meeting with international finance regulators about the idea of making the American regulatory system less burdensome."

Talk about your irony! It appears that the mayor is only aware of "burdensome" regulations and taxes if it applies to the area of finance. Let's not forget that he allowed former DCA commissioner Gretchen Dykstra to try to increase her agency's regulatory authority over the city's neighborhood businesses through a charter revision that would have enabled Consumer Affairs to be both judge and jury over local retailers. In addition, when we complained about his confiscatory cigarette tax' impact on local bodegas the mayor described the furor as, "a minor economic issue"(While he, at the same time, opposed the proposed stock transfer tax).

The height of this irony, however, is dramatically underscored by the menu labeling regulations hurriedly imposed last December by the DOH. As we have commented, the regs could very well have a serious negative financial impact on local franchisees but the Department never even bothered to conduct any fiscal impact analysis of the proposal.

Why are certain businesses held to a higher level of concern? We'd hate to think that a class bias was animating this differential treatment and we'd like to point out that these neighborhood retailers are an important cog in the city's economic engine-as well as adding to the city's quality of life. So, let's evaluate the menu labeling regulation for what it is: a unnecessary burden to independent businesses and one that has not demonstrated any efficacy in addressing serious public health issues.