Red tape is strangling small businesses in the five boroughs, with mom-and-pops buried under a labyrinth of more than 6,000 rules, 250 license and permit permutations, and 15 overlapping agencies, a new report found.
Nearly one third of Big Apple business owners report waiting six months or longer to complete the necessary approvals to open their business, and 13% take more than a year, according to a survey from Controller Scott Stringer.
The municipal foot-dragging is so bad, 40% of biz owners say they are forced to hire consultants known as “expeditors” to help them navigate the morass, the survey found.
But half of those people in the survey, which was part of a year-long “Red Tape Commission” by Stringer’s office that included talks with business owners city-wide, said the expeditors aren’t worth the money.
Stringer is calling on the city to make a host of changes so it’s easier for small businesses, including establishing an online tracking system for the permit approval process.
“If UPS can track a package, you should be able to track how long a permit is going to take,” he said.
Frank Franz, 62, said he’s been trying to open the Belmont Society for Arts and Culture in the Bronx for the past three years.
He’s spent upwards of $100,000 on things like rent, $15,000 for an architect, and $20,000 for prep-work — and still hasn’t opened his doors because he can’t get all the approvals.
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So much time has passed, and so much money has been spent, he fears it will never happen.
“It’s impossible to do business with the city of New York,” said Franz.