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BCW Joins Statewide Coalition in Opposing Proposed Anti-Trust Bill

In its role as an advocate for business, the Business Council of Westchester, along with 12 other leading business organizations throughout the state, sent a letter this week to state legislators and Governor Hochul outlining their strong opposition to the proposed New York State 21st Century Antitrust Act as being anti-business for both large and small businesses.

“Progressive advocates are pressing the New York state legislature to enact the 21st Century Antitrust Act introduced by State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris. This bill comes out of a national movement aimed at breaking up “big tech” companies. If adopted, New York would be the only place in America where nearly every business transaction over $10 million is subject to regulatory review and litigation based on European legal standards that are unfamiliar to U.S. businesses, courts, and regulators,” read the letter sent to State Legislators and Governor Kathy Hochul.

The letter outlined the many reasons why this legislation is bad for businesses large and  small.

  • Every business may be accused of being “dominant” if it has a significant share of its local market or is introducing a new product or reduced prices that increases its market share beyond the threshold
  • It creates massive uncertainty for every business because there is no definition of what conduct is illegal that is not already illegal under federal law and exposes businesses to liability for practices that benefit workers and consumers.
  • The bill does nothing to provide better benefits for workers other than open every employer up to a strike suit claiming that it is “abusing” its dominant position as an employer.
  • Other policies already limit the use of non-competes and this issue should not be addressed in this context.
  • Federal law already requires pre-merger notification to the federal government for transactions that exceed $101 million, which are the supposed target of antitrust legislation

The BCW’s opposition to the bill was outlined in the BCW’s 2022 Legislative Agenda, which reads: “While it is important for antitrust laws to be enforced against anti-competitive conduct, the resulting vague and broad provisions of this bill would allow enforcement and penalties against business conduct that is clearly pro-competitive, and which results in consumer benefits. The bill would also significantly expand the opportunity to bring cases under anti-trust, by authorizing private class action suits for the recovery of damages. This legislation would serve to undermine competition rather than enhance it, by creating and applying new, undefined criteria to regulate market behavior. Its impact would be felt across all business sectors and the Legislature should reject it.”

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