Protest Against FreshDirect Subsidies
November 15, 2012
By Stephanie West
Supermarket operators, bodega owners and small business advocates, held a press conference at city hall Wednesday November 14, 2012 protesting the city and state’s decision to provide the online grocer FreshDirect with $127 million of tax payer subsidies. Business and community leaders. They were joined by Council members Viverito, Levin and Halloran and other elected officials who believe that it is a mistake to use tax money for a single food retailer when the city has a huge budget shortfall.
Earlier this year the city and state made a preliminary decision to provide the online grocer FreshDirect with $127 million worth of tax subsidies so it could move from Queens to the Bronx. The move has been opposed by NY Lawyers for the Public Interest and Good Jobs New York. South Bronx Unite Has filed a lawsuit on environmental and other grounds against the use of the Harlem Rail Yards site and because the subsidies were not an appropriate use of state funds since FreshDirect is not a wholesaler but a retailer.
“I am opposed to using my tax money and the tax money of all of the smaller and struggling food retailers in NYC, to fund our competitor," said John Catsimatidis, the owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain. "A competitor who’s objective is to put the City’s neighborhood supermarkets out of business."
"When you help somebody you often hurt somebody else. I just opened a store on 57th St. and I got no tax breaks, not a single penny. This is a misuse of my tax dollars," said Morton Sloan of the MortonWilliams chain.