BROOKLYN — Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Heights/Downtown/DUMBO) marched with street vendors from across the city recently as part of a grassroots effort to pass legislation that would give vendors greater opportunity to succeed.
Vendors are currently subject to fines as high as $1,000 for those violations that do not relate to health and safety. Levin’s legislation, Intros 434 and 435, seeks to remedy a penalty schedule in which fines grow exponentially, even when multiple offenses arise out of the same incident.
“I’m very proud to sponsor legislation that will protect small businesses and make life a little easier for hard-working vendors,” said Levin. “The ways fines are assessed now is simply unfair, and I, along with more than 30 of my colleagues on the City Council, am determined to restore fairness for working people. I am excited that we are moving Intros 434 and 435 closer to becoming law and providing real relief for thousands of street vendors.”
Levin’s legislation will change a fine structure that he sees as doing more harm than good. More than 26,000 tickets were handed out to vendors last year and many vendors are unable to pay the exorbitant fines. There are approximately 20,000 vendors operating in New York City.
“The Street Vendor Project, the 125th Street Merchants’ Association, and ¡VAMOS Unidos! have been tremendous advocates of this legislation, and I am happy to have their support. I also must recognize the support of my colleagues Melissa Mark-Viverito, Letitia James and Ydanis Rodriguez. Together, we are pursuing a more just and a more fair system of keeping New Yorkers safe and vendors in business,” said Levin.