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De Blasio Sues City for Data on Small Business Fines

The Public Advocate questions what he believes is a ‘fine-first, ask questions later’ policy.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says that budget revenue from fines on businesses has nearly doubled over the past decade to $850 million, and he is suing the city to gain access to records of the fines.

"Fines have been increasing for so long it’s become de facto City policy," de Blasio said on Wednesday, according to Gothamist. "We need answers about what this ‘fine-first, ask questions later’ enforcement is doing to our small businesses and their ability to survive in this economy."

The New York Times says that in May, de Blasio asked for data on fines issued from six city agencies since 2002, with a response requested by June 1. De Blasio told the paper that two of the agencies, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Consumer Affairs, had told his office they were working on a response, while the other four – the Transportation Department, the Sanitation Department, the Buildings Department and the Finance Department – did not respond to his request at all.

Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor, told the Times that the city is working on compiling the data, and that the majority of the increased revenue came from motorist tickets, as well as efforts “to make the city safer and cleaner,” like restaurant cleanliness citations.

Are you a business owner who feels overburdened by fines? Share your story in the comments.

Helga July 27, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Who could be surprised that city agencies just blow off the public advocate. DOH, DOT, Sanitation and Finance are autonomous, slapping fines on everyone, small business and homeowner alike. It's up to the unfairly ticketed to fight, a prospect that usually involves giving up part of a day to go down to the court. Interestingly enough, I don't notice the various BIDs joining the public advocate fight, but then they are autonomous, too, the public/private purview of the public (elected officials) and private (rich landlords who'd just as soon fine the little guys out of existence so the landlords can jack the rents way up). Whta does FAB have to so, for example.

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