It is expected that New York City will lose around 564,000 jobs in 2020 of which around 197,000 will be in leisure and hospitality. This is just one sliver of financial pain that the city is staring down. As such Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report with suggestions to help small businesses and communities rebound. Small business owners should read the full report and offer Stringer feedback on what would and would not work for you. The basic suggestions are as follows:
Supporting Struggling Main Street Businesses:
- Create an NYC Door-to-Door Outreach Team to help small business owners tap into the remaining $150 billion in the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Provide tax credits for independent businesses to help cover re-opening costs now.
- Create an NYC Tech Corps to help small businesses adopt digital tools and develop an online presence.
- Abolish expeditors at the Department of Buildings.
- Allow businesses a “cure period” to address and fix violations, rather than fining them immediately.
- Allow SNAP benefits to be used at local New York City restaurants.
- Continue to relax liquor regulations and eliminate the City tax on liquor licenses.
- Permanently cap the fees charged by third-party delivery companies.
- Extend the moratorium on commercial evictions and provide legal assistance to businesses involved in legal disputes.
Recommendations for Supporting New Business and Entrepreneurship:
- Create a single point-of-contact for launching a business and waive permitting and inspection fees for the next 10 months.
- Create a comprehensive inventory of vacant storefronts to help entrepreneurs locate spaces quickly—free of charge.
- Provide tax incentives for entrepreneurs in high-vacancy retail corridors.
- Create a “re-entrepreneurship” program connecting retiring business owners to aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Help solo entrepreneurs scale up.
- Help immigrant entrepreneurs scale-up, extend into new markets, and open second businesses.
- Harness city procurement for MWBEs and task new Chief Diversity Officers with driving change.
- The City should follow the lead of Cincinnati and adopt a Minority Business Accelerator program.
- Review and reform occupational license requirements
- Support Small Businesses that Rely on Office Workers.
Recommendations for Building Stronger Neighborhoods to Support Small Businesses:
- Repurpose street space for a restaurant, retail, and community use, not just automobiles.
- Be creative with vacant space.
- The Department of Culture Affairs and BIDs should organize outdoor events to draw New Yorkers to commercial corridors and help artists in need.
- Invest in transit outside of Manhattan to support existing businesses and workers and to help diversify borough economies.
- Massive investment in biking and e-biking.
- Tear down the paywall on the 41 commuter rail stations located within the five boroughs.
Clearly, the recommendations range from excellent ideas to intriguing but not fully developed proposals, to pandering politics for his 2021 mayoral campaign. With people and businesses fleeing in droves, the very future of the city is at stake.