New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans to open the nation’s first Burger King in a fiscal cliff “dead zone” in New York, where state revenues would dry up without new taxes.
The move will be seen as a bold move to boost the city’s economy and spur business growth, with a “fiscal shock” to the country’s most populous city unlikely to be a major factor.
But it will also put New Yorkers at a competitive disadvantage against cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, which are also grappling with a long-term budget crunch and may face more drastic cuts if the US does not extend tax breaks and other revenue increases.
“The only way to create jobs is to raise wages,” Mr de Blasio said on Tuesday in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce.
“This is why I am announcing today that the first Burger Kings in the fiscal cliff zone will open in the City of New York.”
The mayor’s announcement comes a day after Burger King announced it was planning to open a second location in New Jersey in January after a state subsidy was cut last year.
The state’s Franchise Tax Board said the $200m annual subsidy for the fast food chain would expire on January 2.
The plan is part of an effort by Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise revenue in the coming months.
“If we don’t act now, New York’s economy will be left with no choice but to take drastic action to make our city even better for future generations,” Mr Cuomo said in a statement on Tuesday.
“By doing this, we can create jobs, strengthen our state’s economy, and restore our confidence in our economy.”
He said the move would also give the state’s restaurant industry a boost, “providing them with the funds they need to be able to continue to operate in New Yorkers’ backyards and restaurants”.’
Fiscal cliff zone’Mr de Blasio’s announcement will bring the number of Burger Kings to three, bringing the total to 20.
The mayor said the chain was also considering opening a second New York location in Los Angeles.
“As we have seen in the past, when the economy is weak, our food choices become even more limited,” he said.
“And with the new tax and fee relief, Burger King can offer even more value to its customers, and we are hopeful that the city will follow the example of our neighbor to the north and welcome them to New York with open arms.”
The new locations will come amid a growing debate in the US over how to deal with the fiscal crunch that will impact millions of workers, businesses and families in January and beyond.
The US has been on a two-year fiscal cliff, with the US Treasury proposing to reduce spending and tax revenues across the board by $2.9tn (£1.7tn) in the next year.
The move comes amid an increase in the unemployment rate to 10.3 per cent, and a surge in claims by Americans seeking jobless benefits.
The Federal Reserve has set its benchmark interest rate at 0.75 per cent.