New York, NY – New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently released a report that up to half of New York City’s restaurants could close indefinitely over the next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, recent polls suggest the city may lose a third of its small businesses. The five candidates who are running for the next Manhattan District President recently expressed their ideas and solutions to help small businesses during the pandemic in a debate.
Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), New York State Senator, first said the stats of one of three small businesses that never return are so alarming the government needs to get the city’s brick and mortar businesses going.
For this reason, he and MP Harvey Epstein (D-Manhattan) tabled a bill that would allow small businesses that have proven to have lost income due to government-mandated closings or government-imposed restrictions to receive support.
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“These companies have had to shut down for no reason, and we need a reinforced government to provide support,” said Hoylman.
He will also work to cut red tape and reduce fines and city violations that do not affect health or safety.
For example, he wants to restore NYC’s awning and accessory sign amnesty program, as companies can, in some cases, impose fines of up to $ 25,000 for awning violations.
In addition, he wants to leverage the city’s public and private legal expertise to support small businesses.
“The office of the district president, a bullying pulpit and partly a legislative office can appeal to private institutions and experts who are willing to offer free services. I want to work with the New York Bar Association to create a free legal clinic for small businesses trying to solve these tough problems, including their leases, ”said Hoylman.
Councilor Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said if he was fortunate enough to be Manhattan’s next president, he would work with the business community to stabilize commercial rents, remove Manhattan commercial rental tax, and encourage landlords to use their retail space to keep active.
“We can and must work together in a public-private partnership to rebuild this city for all of us,” said Kallos.
Councilor Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) noted that small businesses are indeed facing an existential threat that requires urgent action at the city and state levels.
For example, he supports city-level legislation through councilors Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) and Keith Powers (D-Manhattan) and the state level through Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Brooklyn) and MP Yuh-Line Niou (D.- Manhattan) to give landlords tax breaks when they enter into lesser leases.
He also pointed out the recent laws passed in the council that expand a program that provides low-income entrepreneurs with free lawyers to defend against evictions, renegotiate leases and help them with the difficult application of government funds and Support to help.
Before Levine began his civil servant career, Levine founded a Washington Heights credit union that gave $ 25 million in small business loans to low-income families and small businesses. He wants to capitalize on that experience by founding the first public bank in New York City.
“This is something I’ve worked on in my career through my work on starting a downtown credit union, and it’s something I want to boost for New York City by creating a public bank that’s in the way of Community-Level Lenders Invested This can provide credit to entrepreneurs who need them that they will use to grow their businesses and grow our economy, “Levine said.
“This will be a huge priority for me in this campaign, and it certainly will be if I am lucky enough to be the next district president.”
Meanwhile, Kimberly Watkins, who is married to a small business owner and is a business owner herself, highlighted the many years she has spent in executive positions after having experience hiring and managing dozens of people at once, up to hundreds of people with Time.
“We have a long game of a decade or two to think about what small businesses are going to be like,” said Watkins.
And Elizabeth Caputo, who works at the World Economic Forum and previously chaired Community Board 7, said she would work to ensure that small businesses have a voice in local government.
“I think entrepreneurs feel like they have no voice in our local government regarding my conversations with them. And one of the things we have to do is use the district president’s convening powers to match small business owners with the government, ”Caputo began.
“I did that when I was Chairman of Community Board 7, where I hosted a quarterly business-to-business networking session on the Upper West Side. This created good relationships with various communities and expanded our reach throughout the borough and in all different neighborhoods of the Upper West Side. I firmly believe that this could be expanded across the district. “