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How the state budget could potentially harm city dwellers

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The perils of one-party rule in New York will be felt by all New Yorkers after the recently passed $175 billion state budget.

Last November, Democrats gained control of the state Senate in Albany with significant victories. While in power, the GOP majority in the upper house was an effective check on many radical pieces of “progressive” legislation. Now, without this foil in place, the emboldened Democrats have already pushed through laws that will make everyday New Yorkers pay the price — with their
wallets and quality of life.

What these politicians don’t get is that in their quest to implement their progressive legislation in the name of protecting the environment, reducing Manhattan traffic, or finding revenue for our subways, the real costs and burdens will trickle down to those already struggling to make ends meet in New York City.

For example, let’s take a look at the plastic bag ban and the congestion pricing scheme that was included in the
budget.

In May 2016, this columnist, as a Republican candidate for City Council in Brooklyn, appeared on Good Day New York on Fox 5 with Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly to make the case against a plastic bag tax when it was first proposed by City Hall.

Having managed supermarkets both upstate and in Manhattan, I argued that requiring a nickel fee on plastic bags would be a burden on consumers and businesses.

Thankfully, the GOP-led state Senate led the way to block this city legislation from taking effect in February, 2017, as the local law mandated.

However, Democrats in Albany took it a step further last week by banning plastic bags and placing a nickel fee on paper bags.

In 2016, the goal was to discourage the use of plastic bags by taxing them, and push folks to use paper bags to protect the environment. Now, we are banning plastic and placing a fee on paper bags, which shows this was always just another scheme to collect more of our money.

Think about it. We were told plastic bags were so harmful to the environment that we had to move to paper and reusable bags. Indeed, paper bags decompose much more quickly and leave less toxic waste. Now, Albany has banned plastic bags altogether and is allowing local municipalities to require a nickel fee for paper. Of course, Mayor de Blasio and many Council members have already said they will take advantage of the ability to literally nickel and dime us some more.

In making New York only the second state behind California to ban plastic, Albany lawmakers ignored the fact that 1,800 working families in our state rely on the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sectors for their paychecks, as well as the inconvenient truth that plastic bags only comprise less than two percent of the New York City waste stream.

Meanwhile, reusable bags, which our nanny state legislators want to force us to use, are produced overseas and go for about $3 each to purchase.

Also, a main argument of ban supporters was that plastic bags are just single-use; however, anyone who has a cat or dog will confirm there are many other uses.

The most basic question is how are we supposed to get our groceries home? We can carry around reusable bags. So, that as we go to work in the morning and prepare to be crushed like sardines on a subway or bus, we must remember to carry our reusable bags in case we need to stop at the supermarket on the way home. Who wants this extra burden? Otherwise, we can just pay the extra fee for each paper bag used, which will add up.

Relating to congestion pricing, drivers will be hit with a fee for traveling in Manhattan below 60th street.

Of course, legislators punted the details of the plan to a panel to try and insulate themselves from criticism. It is reported that trucks will pay approximately $25 for each trip delivering food and produce to our stores and supermarkets.

Many of these trucking companies are already saying that they will have to pass the additional costs on to their customers and the retail establishments where we buy our groceries. Of course, these businesses will then raise their prices to cover their extra costs. So, anyone who lives, eats, or shops in New York will have to pay more. No matter the details, the buck will stop with each Democrat who voted for this plan.

All of this lunacy could provide a path for the GOP to bring much-needed sanity and balance to Albany in next year’s elections. For this, many of the borough Republican parties need to get their acts together, or prepare for new, independent-minded reformers to pick up the slack.

Bob Capano is a professor of political science of more than 15 years.

Posted 12:00 am, April 12, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Straphanger says:
These MTA employees are not entitled to their jobs. Many of them are rude and dismissive for calmly asking a question. Whenever that happens I report them even if it falls on deaf ears.
April 12, 9:25 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I don't know what kind of perverse hobbies this guy has, but sitting in traffic and breathing more fumes do not add to most people's quality of life. Congestion pricing is going to be a huge improvement for every New Yorker. On the bag ban, at least this line was funny: "anyone who has a cat or dog will confirm there are many other uses." Funny because it's incorrect. There is 1 other use.
April 12, 10:57 am
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
We the people need a thorough everyday audit towards the MTA on how to spend our own money of course.
April 12, 12:09 pm
James Fitzpatrick from Park Slope says:
Congestion pricing is just another permanent spigot that the state will use to squeeze cash out of a dwindling tax base. It punishes us "dirty outer borough dwellers" for daring to enter their elite metropolis. If we weren't forced by the SAME government to move our cars twice a week, we would drive into the city a lot less. Brooklyn agreed (barely) to join Manhattan in the Greater New York scam in 1898, with the promise of fairness between the boroughs. The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge were NEVER supposed to have a toll. This is a betrayal of the outer boroughs and all hard working New Yorkers.
April 12, 12:43 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
Is"Congestion-Pricing",even Constitutional? After all,there will be a charge,just to drive;on otherwise totally public streets. Is"Congestion-Pricing",a toll,or a tariff? If,it is a tariff,only Federal Government(Washington,DC.);are permitted-to impose them. This planned,new toll,should be fought in the Federal courts;possibly even the nation's,Supreme Court?
April 12, 3 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
We all live in an outer borough in this comments section (except that one from "Realityville"). And most of us take the subway into Manhattan when we go there. Nobody forces anyone to move their car twice per week, but if you are weird enough to want to own a car, you can deal with moving it so the city can clean up filth around it.
April 12, 3:47 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
Sorry,Mike,from Williamsburg. I live in Fresh Meadows,Queens,bordering Oakland Gardens.This is basically NE.Queens. I don't even own an automobile. I strongly opposed"Congestion-Pricing",because I DO NOT believe,this new toll,we lead to the"subway-trains"operating on-time. Nor will it lead,to improved city-bus service,in my community,that is located miles east of the subways. Furthermore,the MTA/NYCTA,will NOT live up to their promises;to seriously reorganize-their terribly cost bloated agency. Many projects,currently cost three(3)to six(6)-times,what they cost in London or Paris. And London or Paris,are anything,but;cheaper-than here. Promises..Promises!! BS..BS!! Mike will owe me an apology,when nothing about our city subways and busses;changes in the coming years. Stay tune.
April 12, 4:30 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
Thank you Bob Capano for once again saying the way it is!!!
April 12, 5:27 pm

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