Trump’s War on Disabled Veteran Vendors
By M. Scott Mahaskey
In the 1990s, Trump had a real problem with a protected class of New York street vendors. We paid a visit to some of them today.
The fight went back to an 19th-century law that gave every veteran in New York the right to “hawk, peddle and vend any goods, wares or merchandise” throughout the state. Designed to create economic opportunities for Civil War veterans, the law has been amended a number of times at various state and city levels.Former Marine Dan Rossi, a disabled veteran and long-time city street vendor, waits for customers outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 17. Rossi once held about 500 permits to vend throughout the city and ran a successful food cart manufacturing business. But in the early 90s, a new law restricted individuals from holding no more than one permit, and Rossi eventually lost his business. Today, Rossi operates just one cart and blames the Fifth Avenue Association for destroying his quality of life. M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICOThey are as much a part of the New York City landscape as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Times Square. But the presence of street vendors along New York City’s posh Fifth Avenue corridor gave Donald Trump heartburn in the early 1990s. Back then, he, along with other local business leaders, urged city and state officials to restrict vendor access to Fifth Avenue, including the space in front of Trump Tower. One target of his lobbying efforts included a special class of business operators: disabled veteran street vendors.
“While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?” Trump wrote in a 1991 letter obtained by the New York Daily News. “Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?”
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Benefits like this just from New York.
E-ZPass for Disabled Veterans The New York State Thruway Authority offers free, unlimited travel anywhere on the Thruway to certain, qualifying disabled Veterans.
Property tax exemptions Municipalities have the option to grant an alternative exemption. This provides a property tax exemption of 15 percent of assessed value for veterans who served during wartime, and an additional 10 percent exemption for those who served in a combat zone.
You can find even more on that link to what veterans do receive, which according to Trump, would also qualify "to the detriment of the city" since it is all lost revenue New York honors veterans with.