Yesterday, Governor Paterson vetoed a measure the Legislature passed to combat the bedbug infestation in New York State. The bill would have required all used bedding to be sanitized before being transported, stored or sold with new bedding. The bill would have also required annual inspections of bedding retailers, rather than the current random process. Paterson said the bill would cost the state an additional $600,000 and the hiring of eight employees.
One of every 15 New Yorkers battled bedbugs last year. The epidemic is so serious that the New York City Council announced a plan to fight the spreading infestation, including a public-awareness campaign and a top entomologist to head the effort. New York City is appropriating over a half a million dollars to combat this growing problem and yet Governor Patterson vetoed this public health measure because of a $600,000.00 price tag.
“The Governor’s decision to sweep this problem under the carpet, or bed in this instance, is penny wise and pound foolish. Senator Jose Peralta, sponsor of the bill and Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee said. He continued, “While I understand that the State is facing very difficult economic times, the price of ignoring the bedbug epidemic far outweighs the price of combating this problem. The thousands of New Yorkers who are spending thousands of dollars and countless frustrating hours trying to rid their homes of bedbug infestations will continue to suffer as the bedbug problem spreads. Instead of killing bedbugs, Governor Paterson has told New Yorkers to keep scratching.”
The veto of this bill will have a negative impact on small businesses, large retail and tourism.