Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration are looking to help the city’s finances any way possible, and one way could be to make sure businesses are paying up when they’re being fined. Crain’s reports that the city could collect over $1 billion in fines and deter future problems if the administration goes through with proposed rule changes.
City workers spend time each year handing out fines to businesses for any number of violations, but the fines are rarely enforced, leaving the city with a potential $1.5 billion of unrealized money. More realistically, about half of that money could be collected because the other half can’t be collected for one reason or another, like a business not existing anymore.
The city did try to strengthen these fines in 2016 with a law that gave agencies in the city the ability to deny scofflaws permits or licenses, according to Crain’s, which added that the first major agency that took advantage was the Department of Consumer Affairs and the 81,000 licenses it gave out to businesses and activities. The new rules would make sure that any agency that can give out tickets notifies Consumer Affairs about any habitual offenders.
The new rules would also put pressure on businesses to pay their fines by withholding certain services and needs from the city. If a business has large fines and is very late in paying them, the city would stop giving the business the ability to ask for new applications or permits.
“I am glad to see the department moving forward with regulations,” City Councilman Ben Kallos, D-Manhattan said. He’s been an advocate for these changes, having sponsored the original bill. “They are the agency that provides licenses and permits to the businesses in our city that are often the worst actors.”
The Jewish Voice has covered the de Blasio administration from day one. The mayor has to also start considering the possibility of getting the Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar project underway if Amazon does decide to bring part or all of its HQ2 facilities to Long Island City. New York taxpayers were originally on the hook for $7 million if the project happened but could now be on the hook as well, or instead, for whatever tax incentives Amazon gets.
The $7 million was meant for a delayed feasibility study led by the consulting firms KPMG and WSP.
Spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corp. Stephanie Baez told media “The BQX is a multibillion-dollar, transformational project that would improve transit needs, create jobs and introduce a brand new green transportation system to growing Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods. That’s why we are taking the time necessary to make sure that everything is done right, including finalizing block-by-block analysis.”
According to The New York Post, “Mayor de Blasio first lofted the plan for a streetcar from Astoria, Queens to Sunset Park, Brooklyn in February 2016, when the cost of the project was put at $2.5 billion. The idea then was to pay for the project by siphoning off higher property taxes as values increased along the route.”
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