Law & Order
As several gas station owners are about to learn, it’s against New York State law to jack up the price of goods like fuel after a hurricane. To wit, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he is bringing his “first series of enforcement actions” against price gougers in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“Today’s action is the first in a series of steps my office will take as we continue to actively investigate the hundreds of complaints we’ve received from consumers of businesses preying on victims of Hurricane Sandy,” the attorney general said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.”
In order to keep the city’s fiscal house in order in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled new cuts and streams of revenue over the weekend. Among the changes, school-lunch fees will increase from $1.50 to $2.50, while city libraries will see their funding axed to the tune of $8.3 million. Asked about it during a press conference today in the hard-hit Howard Beach neighborhood in Queens, Mr. Bloomberg defended the budgetary measures.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I don’t like A, B and C,’” he argued. “Well, what things would they like us to raise taxes [on]? The issue here is that we’re trying to find some balance so that everybody shares a little bit in the pain, everybody contributes; we’re all in this together. And do it such that people can afford [it]. It’s not asking a lot to go, in this day in age, from one price to another if it’s a relatively small price. But if a large number of people do it, it contributes significant revenues.”
Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on good portions of New York State, clearly won’t be cheap to clean up, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has avoided giving a specific number to the costs.
In a letter to President Barack Obama requesting maximum compensation from the federal government, however, Mr. Cuomo said the loss of economic activity alone in the state would yield “up to $6 billion in lost economic revenue in the greater metropolitan area and the State due to the severe disruption of business in the world’s leading financial hub and the largest port on the northeastern seaboard.”