News & Announcements
Jill Weitz. - January 30, 2009
Chairman, my name is Jill Weitz. I am a resident of New York City and
grew up in this area. I am strongly opposed to Intro 653, as it would
reward an industry that operates in a way that should be of great
concern to members of the Consumer Affairs Committee, City Council,
Mayor, and taxpaying public. And I am sad to say that one of its
sponsors--Oliver Koppell, who is a member of this committee--is my
council member. What are the issues we should be concerned about?
1. According to news reports, only 30 out of the approximately 300 workers in the carriage horse industry joined the union. Does this mean that the rest are independent contractors? And if so, what entitles them to be independent contractors under the law?
2. Visitors to our city who take horse-drawn carriage rides should be concerned about their safety: unlike pedicabs, drivers of horse-drawn carriages are not required to have driver's licenses. In fact, less than 50% do. Even more alarming is the fact that there are open warrants out for the arrest of two horse-drawn carriage drivers.
3. Insurance coverage is 1/10 the coverage of pedicabs--how can this industry put people in these carriages on city streets knowing that their insurance is inadequate? Horse-drawn carriages are only required to carry $20,000 per carriage in insurance, covering both personal injury and property damage, as compared to the $2 million for each pedicab company and $200,000 for each pedicab.
4. I am deeply concerned about the overcharging of tourists, which I've seen personally. The laws aren't being enforced. I've even seen drivers charge sales tax, which, by the way, these businesses aren't required to pay. As a matter of fact, from an economic point of view, this business is a black hole. There is no accountability. It's cash only--no meters, they don't pay concession fees to the city. What other revenue are the taxpayers losing from this industry?
Does the Consumer Affairs Committee endorse these practices? Why would they reward them?
A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.
The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025