The New York Association of Grocery Stores, NYAGS is a coalition of local New York City grocers fighting to stay alive as special interests and big chains continue to encroach on the businesses our families have maintained for decades. We have formed NYAGS, New York Association of Grocery Stores in order to stop the assault against grocery stores as well as the food service industry all over New York by the Mayor and other government officials. NYAGS will play a substantial role in being the lead advocacy group in redefining how the city treats our retail establishments throughout NYC. NYAGS will promote unity and financial stability to small business throughout NYC.

“The city continues in its quest of becoming a nanny state in regulating every aspect of the lives of the citizens of New York City and in the process, crushing small business” said David Schwartz. “NYAGS will vigorously protect business throughout New York from over reaching and unnecessary regulatory measures. NYAGS will help unite the fight against the recently announced Big Soda Ban by the NYC Board of Health”, said Brad Gerstman.

As Wal-mart continues their push to enter the New York City market and liquor stores continue to block the entrance of wine into grocery stores, we’re fighting to stay in business during these tough economic times. With only 2000 liquor stores in New York State why do their businesses need to be protected while ours do not?

The initial issues to be taken on by NYAGS are:

  • Fight back against the ‘Nanny-State” and stop Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban
  • Enable wine to be sold in Grocery stores
  • Pass legislation to preclude the unconstitutional ticketing of trucks delivering to grocery stores
  • Fight for the prospect that all tobacco products must be sold in brick and mortar NY stores and not Indian reservations, internet and black market.
  • Restore fairness in taxation of cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products and motor fuel
  • Fight against all legislation and regulation that mandates what your customers can and cannot eat
  • Any regulation of tobacco should be done by the FDA and not New York State
  • Fight the Wal-Mart entry into the NYC marketplace
  • Fight against tax credits which favor new supermarkets that enter the NYC market where the employees are non-union and put the existing stores at a disadvantage

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Blog from Crain’s New York:

By Eric Engquist

So much for a new Albany.

While state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have so far avoided the corruption scandals of their convicted predecessors Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver, the state Legislature has made little progress in the way of good government, judging from its passage of a bill nullifying New York City’s 5-cent fee on some disposable shopping bags.

The measures were passed just before the city’s law was to take effect next week, without so much as a hearing, which would have brought impassioned testimony from environmentalists who view a fee as the best way to cure New Yorkers’ addiction to disposable bags.

Hearings might also have revealed a lack of grassroots opposition to the fee, which has been most actively targeted by the deep-pocketed plastic-bag industry.

Heastie had said last week that the Assembly would block the city’s law because of feedback he had received from New Yorkers, but his office has not complied with a request from Crain’s to detail that opposition. Elected officials track constituents’ calls and correspondence on controversial issues; Heastie’s failure to produce the data raises the possibility that the objections were not as numerous as he claimed.

Heastie’s other rationales for nullifying the city’s bag fee (which will still take effect if Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoes the Legislature’s bill) also don’t compute. He said the bill “mandates that stores could charge any amount for carryout bags, starting at 5 cents,” which is an oxymoron: A mandate is a requirement, not a choice. What the city’s law mandates is that stores charge at least 5 cents per single-use bag for purchases not made with food stamps. It allows (not mandates) higher charges so stores can sell sturdier, reusable bags for more than a nickel.

What’s even more disingenuous about Heastie’s claim is that stores are already allowed to charge any amount for carryout bags. The city’s law does not change that. Heastie’s spokeswoman did not explain why retailers would start charging more than 5 cents for bags when they don’t do so today, nor did she say if retailers have done so in any other jurisdiction with a bag fee.

The Assembly speaker’s assertion that the fee could hurt the “working poor” did not mention that food-stamp purchases are exempt from the fee. Households with income up to 130% of the federal poverty level are eligible for food stamps. It also did not explain why he thinks poor people would not learn to bring reusable bags to avoid the fee.

Crain’s also asked why, if “it makes sense to press the pause button on this fee in order to do a more thorough investigation on the best ways to reduce paper and plastic waste,” as Heastie put it, he only stopped the city’s fee and not those in effect on Long Island. There was no response as of Tuesday evening from Heastie. Nor did he say why the city’s two-year investigation was insufficient, or why Albany did not do its own investigation in the many months since the city’s bill passed.

Environmental groups are pleading with Cuomo to veto the state bill and let the bag fee stand. The fee’s City Council sponsors have taken a more wishy-washy approach, offering to negotiate a compromise, which they have already done twice (once to get the bill through the council and once to persuade Albany not to kill the bill last spring).

Read more from Crain’s New York…

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Earth-loving New Yorker slams senator for blocking bag fee

Manhattanite David Camacho says Simcha Felder is “on the wrong side of history”. OP-ED from Crain’s New York.

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State must stop NYC’s bag fee

The City Council’s latest social-engineering experiment will provoke class warfare. OP-ED from Crain’s New York.

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Albany Blocks NYC’s Plastic Bag Fee

Last year, the New York City Council voted to impose a fee for single-use shopping bags. But on Monday, the State Senate passed legislation putting a moratorium on the city’s law. On Tuesday, the Assembly followed suit. If the governor signs it, it will derail what city officials say is a common-sense environmental measure.

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State Lawmakers Move to Postpone NYC Bag Fee

State lawmakers are poised to overrule New York City’s impending fee on non-reusable shopping bags after legislators from both parties voted Tuesday to delay any fee until at least next year.

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