By CeFaan Kim
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MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) — Street vendors in New York City were holding a 24-hour slumber protest outside Governor Kathy Hochul’s office in Midtown Manhattan on Monday.
They ask the governor to support the formalization and decriminalization of street vending in the state budget.
Street vendors say they have been trapped in an unjust system for decades and have done essential work during the pandemic.
They say they are excluded from the formal economy.
Sellers are facing exorbitant fines at an even higher rate than pre-pandemic levels, with continued enforcement led by the NYPD.
There is a cap on vendor licenses in New York. Those protesting say it remains virtually impossible to become a legal street vendor in the city.
Protesters say black market licenses can cost up to $25,000.
Selling without a license can cost them a $1,000 fine, which can be an entire week’s worth of sales.
“A complete overhaul of a system that has been in place for decades that treats our salespeople like criminals. New York City capped the number of permits and licenses in the 70s and 80s. Until today, in 2022, street vendors still face the same system, a system that treats them like criminals. , a system that puts them in jail,” said Mohamed Attia, Street Vendor Project.
So they ask the governor to sign a bill. It is sponsored by State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, and if passed:
1. Remove NYPD enforcement of street vending and criminal penalties for street vending violations, provide oversight by only a civilian agency 2. Formalize the street vending industry, creating a pathway to entrepreneurship by removing the currently insurmountable barrier to entry into the industry Sellers who wish to do business in accordance with the law – including paying taxes, following citing rules and regulations – will be able to obtain permits to operate their business.
3. Allow previous criminal convictions for street vending to be overturned to avoid any federal immigration consequences
Tuesday, after the party, these vendors are launching a march to Albany.
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