New York isn’t collecting on the majority of fines given to street vendors, according to a report by the city’s Independent Budget Office.
Of $15.8 million in fines handed to vendors in 2008 and 2009, a whopping $14.9 million was still outstanding as of Dec. 15, 2009, the report said.
In addition, the report noted that it cost about the city about $7.4 million to regulate vendors just for fiscal year 2009 and that a 1995 law aimed at improving sales tax collections from peddlers was never implemented.
In response, vendors scoffed that they pay sales tax and there’s a good reason the city shows so much red ink on its books.
“They’re not making any money because they’re not issuing legitimate citations,” said a book vendor on 34th Street who declined to give his name for fear of antagonizing the police. He said he had been issued two violations for setting up too close to a hydrant. “I’ve fought them and I won.”
The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesperson for the IBO could not clarify whether the $14.9 million reflected the amount in tickets issued or what remained on the books after adjudications.