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Time is running out to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio’s jobs-killing gift to the hotel-workers’ union, a bizarre scheme to make it near-impossible to build new hotels in the city.
The Hotel Trades Council was the only union to back his hopeless presidential bid — its members accounted for 70 percent of his individual donors in 2019 — so he’s determined to pay it back before he leaves office.
Yet his own experts fear he could endanger the city’s post-pandemic recovery, The New York Times reports, warning it could trim the future tax take from tourism by $7 billion.
The plan would eliminate “as-of-right” hotel construction — requiring every new hotel to seek city approval, even where it’s A-OK under current zoning and so on. The new process would mean added months of lengthy public reviews and blackmail by local pols, City Hall and, of course, the unions.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on tourism and the hotel industry, wiping out at least a third of the city’s hotel rooms and closing a fifth of its hotels.
Pre-COVID, tourism ranked among the city’s top industries, accounting for nearly 300,000 jobs. We can’t get them back if building new ones becomes impossible, but the Hotel Trades Council only cares about limiting potential non-union competition.
Last May, developer Sam Chang told the Wall Street Journal that the proposal is “pretty much putting me out of business.”
City Councilman Ben Kallos told the Times: “At the current time, where tourism is at an all-time low, I want to make sure that what we are building is actually what we need.” Like he’d have a clue? If a new hotel bombs, its investors lose out: That’s plenty of incentive to make sure demand is there. Guess Kallos also wants the HTC’s love as he runs for Manhattan borough president.
The 60 million tourists who normally visit New York each year are vital to the city’s economic rebound. They fill Broadway theaters, restaurants and other businesses and feed our world-class museums and art galleries. But they need places to stay.
De Blasio, Kallos & Co. would rather pay off a special interest than secure the city’s comeback. It’s disgusting.
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