Where we stand today...
Progressive NYC Council continues to put profit before people, abandoning small business to follow Bloomberg's Real Estate Agenda
In 2009, a version of a bill that would become the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) was sitting before the NYC Council. 32 Council Members had backed the bill in defiance of then Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn. Against this backdrop, Speaker Quinn used political influence to block the bill from going to the floor for a vote where it would have passed. Today, we face the same fight.
We have a new progressive NYC Council, with 26 Members ready to do the right thing and vote to save small business, and yet, our City Council leadership is returning to Quinn and Bloomberg's path from 2009 for guidance. Namely, per Speaker Quinn's 2009 statement after she stopped the vote on the SBJSA:
- Create a unit in Small Business Services that would be charged with assisting small businesses in lease negotiations;
- Create a tax break for small retail businesses so that they may be removed from the City’s General Corporation Tax;
- Create a tax incentive for landlords to renew the leases of small retail businesses;
- Ban key payments outside of the lease and give tenants a private right of action; and
- Begin the zoning reform process with a view toward changes in the zoning laws that currently force small businesses to compete with large drug stores and bank branches for commercial street space in certain commercial strips.
Today, in 2017, we have come full circle to 2009. In the midst of overwhelming popular support for the SBJSA, some NYC City Council Members are turning to Quinn's 2009 plan as band-aid solutions to the real crisis of small business: high rents and zero lease negotiation powers.
Council Members such as Dan Garodnick and Corey Johnson, are pushing for tax cuts for small business which does nothing for small businesses who can't get their lease renewed or negotiate fair terms. In the words of TakeBackNYC Spokesperson, Kirsten Theodos, “What good is a tax cut if you don’t have a lease?” Speaking to the other points from Quinn's 2009 plan currently being re-hashed by City Council Members, Theodos stated "Retail zoning and landlord incentives don't address high-rent, short-term leases or the extortion of immigrant business owners. It’s sad when our electeds go on record acknowledging a mom-and-pop crisis then push legislation that doesn’t even address the crux of the problem — high rents and no right to a lease renewal.”
Without the SBJSA to protect our small businesses, the millions of people they employ, and the character of our neighborhoods, New York City stands to lose the economic and social backbone of our communities.
Our New York City elected officials need to stop looking for band-aid solutions and start serving their communities. The New York City Council needs to vote on and pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). It's past time to give equal rights to our small businesses, save our jobs, and protect the character of our neighborhoods.
Find your Council Member and let them know their job depends on their support for the SBJSA.