- Last Updated: 11:22 PM, March 7, 2013
- Posted: March 08, 2013
No sooner had FreshDirect announced it would be moving to The Bronx than the usual suspects began to protest.
On Monday the objectors sued, saying the online grocer will increase traffic and hurt the environment in their neighborhood. Meanwhile, those who support the relocation cite the jobs the online grocer would bring to a borough with the state’s highest unemployment rate.
Alas, it’s not as clean-cut as that. The reason FreshDirect is moving to The Bronx is that the city and the state have given the company a $130 million package of cash and tax breaks. That was to fend off the company’s threat to move to New Jersey.
It’s an interesting case. As the Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas noted on these pages last year, FreshDirect depends on providing quick delivery. That would get harder if it moved across the river, where its trucks would have to fight tolls and traffic.
So it’s not entirely clear whether FreshDirect was serious about moving across the Hudson or just trying to use New Jersey’s offer to force New York to up the ante.
Either way, this is not a winning strategy for the future. All New Yorkers would be far better off by making the business environment more inviting for everyone.
Now, we understand that New York companies — faced with the reality of New York taxes, New York regulation and New York labor laws — will take relief where they can find it. Just as we don’t blame champions of the free market who take the mortgage deduction on their taxes even though they believe it a distortion.
The real problem is this: What kind of future are our politicians building if the only way they can keep companies in New York is to bribe them to stay?Follow @NYPostOpinion