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New York proposes $3 tax on online deliveries to save small businesses and the MTA

Only certain products would be excluded from the tax.

By
Collier Sutter
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There could soon be a NYC tax that could help save small businesses and the MTA.

In the biggest shopping season of the year, which has turned into the biggest online shopping season, giants such as Amazon and Walmart are continuing to dominate. The pandemic has provided an exponential boost to their already steady business models, but, what if every time you ordered something to your doorstep online, you had to pay a surcharge in New York City?

Legislation to tack on a $3 per order fee is on the table—a bill proposed by Brooklyn Assemblyman Robert Carroll to urge more consumers to shop local.

"It's to nudge people to shop local and incentivize that," Carroll said, "It's also to say 'hey, there's a cost to online delivery, there are multiple trucks, delivery trucks on my block every single day, there are tons of cardboard and plastic."

On average, an estimated 1.8 million packages are delivered daily to apartments and homes in the city. The fee would be slapped onto non-essential goods—that means ordering food, medicines, and diapers would be excluded from the surcharge.

While the surcharge is to encourage New Yorkers to shop local at the city’s mom-and-pop stores, large retail flagships that are part of New Yorkers DNA and tourism, such as Bloomingdales and Macy’s, could also benefit since they've lost so much foot traffic this year.

Over the last six months alone, New York has already witnessed major New York retailers go under, including Century 21 in the Financial District and Neiman Marcus in Hudson Yards, due to the lack of business from the usual onslaught of tourists and commuters.

Assemblyman Carroll says that beyond helping brick-and-mortar retail, the revenue gained would rescue the struggling MTA.

As New York looks for solutions to the state's massive budget shortfall this year, Carroll says the online shopping fee should be considered. It is estimated to raise more than $1 billion a year, "which could fund the operating costs of buses and subways in the city of New York."

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