Saturday, June 09, 2007

Small Business Congested Over Mayor's Plan

Another interesting point, brought out by Andy Newman's good story in the Times this morning, was the growing small business opposition to the congestion tax. There are literally thousands of Mom and Pop distributors and contractors who are based outside of Manhattan, but who do the bulk of their business in the congestion zone. As the Times highlighted: "Small business owners who do not have the option of moving their goods by subway or during off-peak hours were particularly annoyed. Several threatened to raise their prices to cover the increased transportation expense."

Add to this mix the thousands of mid-level accountants, lawyers and other professionals who live outside of Manhattan but work in the CBD, and you have a large cohort of middle class homeowners who will once again, if the mayor's plan goes into effect, be victimized by a city hall taxing scheme. Which is why the plan needs to be put off of the mayoral fast track.

The plan must undergo a thorough and independent environmental as well as socio-economic impact analysis. As Denny Farrell told the mayor, the costs as well as the benefits need to be properly gauged, and that should be done before, not after the plan is implemented. The mayor's description of the plan as a "pilot" is simply a non-starter. It is the kind of temporary measure that reminds us of the 50 year provisional landfill the city placed at Fresh Kills. Sorry, Mike, no one's buying that one.