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Speaker Johnson Urges Caution On Potential NYC Fur Ban

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The fur is flying, yet again, over a bill to ban the sale of fur in the Big Apple.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson said Thursday the city should move slowly and carefully before it takes steps that would eliminate jobs, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

NYC fur ban
Fur (Photo: CBSN New York)

The fur-or over the loss of jobs from the proposed fur ban has prompted the bill's sponsor to rethink its implementation, saying people shouldn't have to go cold turkey, rather it should be phased in over what he called a lengthy period of time.

MORENew York City Considering Banning Sale Of Fur Garments

When asked what he would call a lengthy period of time, Johnson said, "In Los Angeles, when they banned the sale of fur I believe they had three years before it went into effect, which is why we would want to give it a long period of time to phase it in and do workforce training. People that make fur garments have a skill set. They can make clothes. They don't just make fur. They could make other clothes. So if we gave training for them to be able to move toward more ethical products, that would be a good thing."

There's a problem with that, according to fur industry experts. They say there are no jobs in the clothing industry. They've dried up.

"Cut and sew has been gutted by 80 percent. They don't exist. There are no jobs to transition into," said Tim Grant, spokesman for FURNYC. "If your were to walk between 35th and 40th between Ninth and Sixth or Seventh you'd find shuttered shops. There's nothing there. We've off-shored them."

There's also a dispute over just how many jobs New York City would lose if the fur ban were to go into effect. Industry experts say the ban would:

* Shut down 150 small businesses, many owned by immigrant families

* Put an estimated 7,500 people out of work

* Result in a loss of $850 million in revenue

MORE"Save Our Jobs": Furriers Protest Against Proposed Ban On Fur Sales In NYC

When asked if he's concerned about the jobs, the 7,500 jobs, that could be lost, Johnson said, "I'm not sure that number's accurate. I think there's a job number that's more like 1,200 jobs, but even 1,200 jobs ... yes, I am concerned."

"We brought in an outside economist to go ahead and do the metrics," Grant said. "It's 7,500 jobs, not 1,200."

"It's a bad idea. I mean, we shouldn't be just waking up one day and deciding a whole bunch of New Yorkers should be put out of business," Councilman Joseph Borelli added. "Look, we can't have 'Broadway Joe' [Namath] without a mink coat, right?"

No date has been set yet for a vote on the ban. The speaker told Kramer the city council is currently focused on passing a new budget by the end of next month.

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