2009_04_28-ubt-hearing-042_-3-red-shirts-b.JPG If you were a freelancer in New York City yesterday, the place to be was at 250 Broadway, where City Council held a public hearing on exempting freelancers from the Unincorporated Business Tax. Freelancers were spilling out the front doors. The room couldn’t fit everyone, but we kept smuggling members up a few at a time. Outside the sun was burning down and the sidewalks were teeming with city officials and the usual masses, but inside the hearing room everything was calm and smooth sailing. Check out all the pictures on Flickr! Several members testified about how the UBT hurts their businesses and wellbeing, and we heard from business, community, and freelance leaders, too. I was near the front of the room snapping pictures, and I can attest that there was a lot of head-nodding and mm-hmm-ing coming from Council Members David Yassky and Letitia James. Later, one city official told us he couldn’t recall the last time he’d heard such a good panel. Also Tuesday, the New York Post ran our op-ed about the UBT. It makes the case for exempting freelancers from the Unincorporated Business Tax – a necessary, just, and overdue amendment to an outdated tax. Next stop, Albany! More photos and excerpts from the testimonies after the jump. April Silver, member and web designer: “Every year the UBT has cost me about $4,000 . . . That’s twenty thousand dollars over 5 years that I could have saved in a retirement account, spent on rent or on upgrading my business.” Patricia McKiernan, Executive Director of the Graphic Artists Guild: “The world has changed and our laws have not. The independent workforce deserves equitable tax treatment. At a time when New York City’s creative class is struggling more than ever, it’s time to refocus the UBT on its original target . . .” Stephen Botkin, member and theatrical technical director: “It should be said that I would be much les opposed to this tax if freelancers were offered anything in return from the State. However, such is not the case since we are not entitled to any wage claims available to employees or any benefits as conferred on corporate taxpayers.” (See even more photos in our Flickr collection.) 2009_04_28-ubt-hearing-070_crowd.JPG Waiting to get into the hearing room - it sure was hot! 2009_04_28-ubt-hearing-100_testifiers.JPG Testifying: Sara Horowitz and Freelancers Union members 2009_04_28-ubt-hearing-126_james-and-yassky.JPG Hearing testimony: Council Members Letitia James (left) and David Yassky (right).