“Moms & Pops”: Help Small Businesses

The small-business climate in our state is atrocious.  Small businesses have historically accounted for 51% of our state’s total jobs (Small Business Advocacy).  Unemployment in our state is at a staggering 9.1% and is 10% in the city (Bureau of Labor Statistics).  It is thus no wonder that our state is ranked the 49th friendliest for businesses (Tax Foundation).  Small businesses are not being reimbursed for burdensome regulations, and as a result middle-class and lower-class New Yorkers are hurting.  As Public Advocate I will institute the following measures to fix what the two-party system has broken.

  • Reduce fees and regulations on small businesses. Furthermore, penalties should be on a sliding scale since penalties are supposed to protect the public by halting dangerous business practices.  Having the same fine for a small business and a large corporation hurts the small business but does nothing to curb the behavior of the larger corporation.
  • Reduce New York’s business tax rate, one of the highest in the nation on small businesses (Federation of Tax Administration). Given this crippling tax rate and new regulations for which small businesses are not reimbursed, it is no wonder that most New Yorkers are having increasing difficulty finding jobs.
  • Institute a new tax credit for small businesses that offer their employees fair sick days and pension plans.
  • Give every community board two seats in zoning boards to ensure that the community has a fair voice in zoning and building decisions. Revise the city charter to ensure this.
  • Severely fine predatory behavior by large corporations to protect small business owners who live in our great city. They are the lifeblood of New York and must be protected by their elected government.  Government must protect its citizens, not kowtow to wealthy real-estate tycoons.
  • Enact statutes to ensure that small-business rent increases reflect the inflation rate plus “reasonable” cause for rent increases. Landlords will have to apply for permission to raise rent beyond the inflation rate.
  • Community Boards shall be empowered to prevent landlords from giving the boot to mom-and-pop stores that are in good standing and have satisfied their rent.
  • Out-of-state and S&P 500 corporations shall not be allowed to push out mom and pops aided by landlord holdovers designed to scare away local storeowners in good standing. Landlords holding stores vacant for more than three months will be severely fined unless they can demonstrate just cause for doing so and show that they are not holding out to enlist rich corporate entities for paying higher rent.
  • Tax landlords heavily for keeping stores empty for more than 3 months.
  • Lower NYS taxes for storeowners who are NYC residents.  Remove all burdensome, time-consuming, and costly paperwork as much as possible.
  • Grant Community Boards the right to oppose corporate actions harmful to local business owners insofar as granting the boards two votes in zoning boards. CB’s must have teeth and be more than “opinions” that are frequently ignored by powerful and well-endowed real estate tycoons.