Small businesses were already struggling before COVID-19. As the city begins to recover from this pandemic, we need to ensure our local small businesses have the support they need to succeed.
Eliminate Unnecessary Bureaucracy
We need to reform the letter grade system issued by the city health department to allow time for small business owners to address certain violations before receiving a grade. We also need to streamline the permit and licensing process, and provide more resources for prospective small businesses owners.
Address High Costs
City officials should negotiate deals with real estate developers that require a certain amount of retail space be set aside for small businesses. We also need to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which would require building owners to renegotiate commercial leases in good faith. Finally, we must reform the Commercial Rent Tax, which imposes a 3.9% tax only on businesses in Manhattan below 96th Street.
Expand Outdoor Dining
We must expand the city’s outdoor dining program, which has been a lifeline for many local restaurants. This includes allowing the program to continue during the winter, and setting aside more street space for bars and restaurants. If businesses are found to be violating city rules, they should be given adequate time and instructions to be able to cure any violations.
We should never balance the city’s budget on the backs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Instead of cutting funding to necessary social service programs, we should work to identify alternatives.
Procurement Reform - the city must reduce the costs of procurement of both goods and services. This would include streamlining the process to limit the number of agencies required to sign off on a project. The city must also pay vendors promptly. Often, because many vendors know they could wait over a year for payment, they will inflate their prices to make up for the delay.
System Modernization - many of the city’s computer systems are decades old, and are in dire need of upgrades, or total overhauls, both on the front end and the back end. I would demand a full audit of every agency’s computer systems, and work to upgrade all of the city’s systems so that they are not only up to date, but can all communicate with each other, so that information from one agency or department can easily be pulled up by any other agency or department.