The people New York City are about to become a lot less free in 2019 — and the changes could cost business owners.
Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D-N.Y.), Democrats ran wild in the state, passing regulation after regulation limiting the decisions businesses are allowed to make.
Here are five new laws that could cause some problems for New York City business owners:
1. Paid family leave
In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed the New York State Paid Family Leave Act. This legislation was passed to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for working parents by 2021. As part of the slow rollout for this legislation, business owners in New York will have to provide their workers with ten weeks of paid family leave in 2019.
The act allows employees to take the ten weeks to care for a newborn child or a sick family member while still being paid 50 percent of their regular wages by their employer. The state isn’t pitching in on that funding, but they did allow employers to take a payroll deduction to fund it.
However, as New York Business Journal reports, employers can only take $85.56 annually from each employee, but they could have to pay out as much as $6,529.60 for each employee that takes the 10-week leave, resulting in major losses for businesses with small businesses feeling the most pain.
2. Minimum wage increases
As IJR previously reported, dozens of states and localities will see an increase in their minimum wage starting on December 31 or January 1. New York is no exception.
In New York City, all businesses with more than 10 employees must pay a $15 minimum wage, up two dollars from the previous minimum. Smaller businesses must now pay $13.50.
Business owners, again, will carry the burden of this new wage regulation. As IJR previously reported, New York City’s last minimum wage increase already resulted in increased automation due to the cost of employees.
Smoking isn’t good for people, and they shouldn’t do it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that cigarettes are a legal product that businesses sell to make money. A new law in New York City forbids pharmacies (and supermarkets containing pharmacies) from selling cigarettes and tobacco products.
The deputy mayor for health and human services, Herminia Palacio, told the New York Times, “People trust pharmacies to help them stay well. They should be helping smokers quit, not the opposite.”
Again, the lost revenue from the lack of cigarette sales lands on business owners across the city.
4. Foam takeout containers
As part of an initiative to reduce foam waste, New York City banned businesses from using cheap foam takeout containers, cups, and other single-use products as of January 1. By July 15, businesses will be fined if they are caught using foam products.
As of January 1, 2019 certain foam products will be banned from possession, sale, or use in NYC. This includes foam takeout containers, cups, packing peanuts, plates, bowls and trays. Details: https://t.co/S0yLw8JFmK #foambanNYC pic.twitter.com/y1y97WihJw
— NYC zerowaste (@NYCzerowaste) November 18, 2018
According to a report by National Review, replacing foam containers will cost businesses as they are forced to foot the bill for more-expensive alternatives.
5. Baby changing stations
Although it may seem like a minor issue, Gov. Cuomo took on the issue of changing baby’s diapers. He signed a law requiring that all new commercial buildings provide at least one baby changing station in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms on each floor of the building.
Restrooms with baby changing stations must be much larger than a standard bathroom, forcing businesses to give up space on every floor of the building to baby changing stations.
While some of these changes may seem nice, these are just examples of the government interfering in the free market at the cost of business owners. Instead of businesses being incentivized to use eco-friendly packaging or pay higher wages to retain employees, the government stepped in and forced compliance in moves that will burden the whole economy.