After millions across the country lost their jobs and livelihoods during the coronavirus pandemic, New York may consider enacting a $3 surcharge on delivery items at a time when leaving the house is considered dangerous.
The bill, proposed by Democrat Assemblyman Robert Carroll, would charge customers for items they ordered online, except for medicine and food. The surcharge would purportedly be used to help New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority address its budget issues, NBC New York reported.
Carroll said the tax on residents could raise more than $1 billion a year. He also wrote in a joint op-ed for the Daily news that the tax could force New Yorkers to shop at local small businesses instead of online giants like Amazon and Walmart.
“A delivery surcharge will also undoubtedly encourage consumers, and the Amazons of the world, to more regularly consolidate multiple items into a single package for delivery,” wrote Carroll, along with John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union.
Carroll appears to ignore the ramifications of such a surcharge on New Yorkers during the pandemic. Amazon’s profits are up because politicians have spent the past nine months telling people they’ll die if they leave their homes, so people are ordering everything they need online instead of risking a trip to a store and a potential COVID-19 death. Carroll’s proposal essentially tells people to leave their homes and risk infection to avoid the fee.
While many New York residents could absorb the fee, the state’s poorer residents may be forced to turn to brick-and-mortar stores for their items, thus risking infection in order to afford necessary items besides food and medicine. This wouldn’t be a few people needing to venture outside more often for their items, it would be millions.
Politicians have insisted that large gatherings – except for protests and riots – contribute to the infection rate, so Carroll’s proposed bill would, logically, lead to an increase of coronavirus cases. The increase would disproportionately affect low-income residents.
Carroll’s bill may go nowhere in the New York Assembly, but it is just one more example of politicians proposing taxes on residents without thinking through the consequences.
Surcharges have had negative effects during the pandemic. In May, The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois reported on restaurants and salons enacting surcharges in an attempt to stay in business after draconian lockdown measures. Customers, however, were not happy.
One restaurant that implemented a surcharge, Kiko’s Steakhouse, said they advertised the price on flyers and only added the extra payment to keep menu prices from increasing.
“We are not trying to hide this surcharge, we choose this option rather than changing our prices on our menu, this way we can adjust the surcharge weekly,” the restaurant wrote on Facebook. “We’ve been putting flyers in front of our restaurant & put the surcharge on your receipt, today we put more signage. Please understand we can’t control the rising cost of meat, seafood, poultry & produce prices.”
Another restaurant received a backlash after adding a 26% surcharge it called a “COVID-19 fee” to its bills.