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Hochul ripped for vetoing retail crime task force bill as theft skyrockets

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul is facing backlash for her decision to veto a bill aimed at creating a retail crime task force in New York.

The bill, which had garnered bipartisan support, was proposed as a response to the significant increase in retail theft across the state. Retailers in New York have reported substantial losses, with the Retail Council of New York State citing a staggering $4.4 billion lost to shoplifting in 2022 alone. The task force was intended to convene experts to develop strategies to combat this growing issue.

Melissa O’Connor, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, expressed disappointment in Hochul’s veto, emphasizing the urgent need for an effective, collaborative response to the escalating problem of retail theft.

Despite this setback, O’Connor remains hopeful for future cooperation with the Governor’s administration to prioritize and address retail theft prevention. The veto has drawn criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, with Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-Marcy, highlighting the importance of supporting local businesses and creating a safer environment for both business owners and customers.

U.S. stores have lost an estimated $112 billion in sales in 2023 due to theft. Major retailers like Walmart and Costco are reevaluating their self-checkout systems, suspecting them to contribute to increased shoplifting and profit losses.