NY Small Business Cheers Decision on Soda Ban

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the country’s leading advocate for small business owners, today applauded the decision by a state appeals court to overturn New York City’s controversial ban on soda.

“The ban on soda was clearly an abuse of the Mayor’s executive power and we’re pleased that the court agreed,” said NFIB State Director Mike Durant.  “The mayor does not have the power under the state Constitution to supervise personal decisions between private businesses and their customers.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has attracted international attention in recent years for his aggressive regulation of products that he thinks are unhealthy for New York City residents.  He pushed through bans on smoking in all public places, trans-fats in foods, alcohol sales and, most controversially, the sale of 16-ounce soft drinks. 

“The world’s most important city has developed a reputation as one of the world’s most inhospitable places for small businesses because of this silliness,” said Durant.  “The court said today what New Yorkers have been saying for a long time, which is that Mayor Bloomberg should worry about keeping the streets safe and leave the personal choices up to the people.”

On behalf of New York’s thousands of small business owners, especially the neighborhood restaurants and groceries that are central to the City’s identity, NFIB filed an amicus brief against the soda ban.

“This issue is important to our members for reasons that go far beyond soda,” said Durant.  “Government officials whose powers are limited by state and federal laws can’t be allowed to steamroll the rights of private businesses and consumers even if their motivations are laudable.”

He said that victory in the Soda case won’t by itself make New York City an Eden for small businesses, but it does send a message to ambitious politicians and bureaucrats that they’ll be challenged when they step over the line.

“It’s easy to regard this is a frivolous issue but it goes to heart of the free enterprise system.  If the city can get away with banning soda it can make a case for banning anything else that attracts the disapproval of politicians and activists.  And the consequences extend beyond the city limits.”

For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.

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About Mike Durant

Mike Durant was named New York State Director of NFIB in May 2011. Prior to joining NFIB as the Assistant State Director in May 2010, Durant began his career in the New York Senate working in the Office of Member Services. From there, he served in a number of positions during former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s administration. As a Research Specialist in the New York State Office of Demographic Policy, Mike was responsible for drafting a redistricting proposal for Governor Pataki. In addition, Mike served as a Research Specialist for the Empire State Development Corporation, as well as the Associate Commissioner of Human Resource Management with the New York Department of Labor. Durant also spent four years working at the Questar III BOCES as a specialist focusing on the complex formulas that drive aid to school districts across the state while also taking a lead role in the state legislative/budget process as it related to education policy. These past positions have given Mike a deep understanding of the complex political economics of the State of New York. Active in the community, Durant has served on a number of boards in both the village of Ballston Spa and Town of Milton. Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, New York and resides in Ballston Spa with his wife and two children.
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