NFIB Bursts New York City’s Bubble

Today the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center filed an amicus brief asking New York’s Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court’s ruling saying New York City’s ban on large drinks is unlawful.

“Small business owners have a right to freely provide goods and services without the government infringing upon their economic liberties,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center. “From the beginning we have argued that this law is overreaching, unfair to small business owners and ignores the individual rights of consumers to make their own choices. Two different courts in New York have agreed with us and we urge New York’s High Court to uphold the previous rulings and ensure that the voice of small business continues to be heard.”

NFIB State Director Mike Durant, who criticized the soda ban when it was imposed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, called it regrettable that the new administration hasn’t acted more sensibly when it comes to consumer choice.

“We had hoped that the de Blasio administration would drop the case since the ban failed once already in court,” said Durant. “New Yorkers are smart people who can decide for themselves how much soda they can safely drink.  There’s no evidence that the soda ban has been good for anyone except late night comics and it’s an embarrassment to the city and the state.”

On March 2013, a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the soda-ban was unlawful—holding that the New York Board of Health had overstepped its authority and acted in an arbitrary manner. Four months later, the State Supreme Court’s appellate division affirmed the lower court’s decision striking down the ban. On June 4, the Court of Appeals in Albany will hear oral arguments in the city’s appeal.

NFIB’s brief argues that small business owners have a right to make an honest living by providing consumers with products and services that they desire, and that consumers should be allowed to make their own lifestyle choices with the products they consume.

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The NFIB Small Business Legal Center  is a 501(c)(3) organization created to protect the rights of America’s small business owners by providing advisory material on legal issues and by ensuring that the voice of small business is heard in the nation’s courts. The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.

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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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