(A blog by Assembly Leader Brian Kolb)
Last month, with the urging of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Council introduced legislation to ban the use of polystyrene food service containers. While the proposal is specific to New York City, the devastating economic impacts would be felt throughout the state.
Upstate New York is home to several polystyrene manufacturers and more than 1,200 manufacturing jobs in New York State would be lost if New York City bans this material. This proposed ban is an affront to the hard-working New Yorkers who rely on upstate manufacturing jobs to put food on their tables.
I have asked Governor Cuomo to weigh in on this critical issue, and help protect the Upstate families, businesses and communities who would be irreparably harmed if this unnecessary regulatory change becomes a reality. Eliminating 1,200 jobs represents $54 million in lost wages alone. Taking into account the total impact of this loss of business, it is estimated that we could see as much as $400 million in reduced economic output.
Other cities have effective recycling programs in place for polystyrene, and I have urged Mayor Bloomberg to explore similar options that would preserve jobs and business in Upstate New York. At a time when the Upstate economy needs all the help it can get, this anti-business proposal is a disturbing step in the wrong direction.