A new bill introduced by a Brooklyn state lawmaker would impose a 25 cent tax on all products purchased online with Amazon and other e-tailers in New York City.
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) said in a memo accompanying his legislation that the proceeds earmarked for infrastructure improvements such as repairing the beleaguered Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
“By imposing a negligible 25 cent surcharge on the online delivery packages responsible for the diesel-powered, heavy-duty vehicles polluting our air, imperiling our bicyclists and pedestrians, clogging our roadways, and by crushing our highways, bridges, and cantilevers, we can begin to truly invest in alternative modes of freight transportation while securing needed repairs for the BQE,” Gounardes said.
Gounardes’ proposal comes as Albany lawmakers in the state Assembly have floated potentially hitting streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max with the state’s 4% sales tax as a way to fund the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The senator’s 25 cent tax would only apply to online sales in New York City, not other parts of the state.
The surcharge would also be listed separately on the customer’s bill, so New Yorkers know it is being charged by the state, not by Amazon or other retailers.
Gounardes complained that more than 2.3 million packages ordered online are delivered to city customers each day, up from 1.8 million pre-pandemic.
He also griped about the “last-mile” warehouses that Amazon and other delivery companies have built in the city that are much larger than traditional warehouses and use “significantly higher volume of trucks, which are bigger in size and thus more polluting.”
It’s unclear whether his proposal will be included in the state budget currently being negotiated by Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders.