Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Carlina Rivera, Jimmy Van Bramer, Jumaane Williams, Adrienne Adams, Ben Kallos, Margaret Chin and small business owners today announced the upcoming Committee on Small Business hearing on Intro.0737, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA).
The legislation focuses on addressing the small business crisis throughout New York City and concentrates on the recent trend of the growing amount of commercial vacancies. The hearing will be the beginning of the legislative process and all small business owners throughout the city are encouraged to attend and share their testimonies.
More than three decades ago the SBJSA was introduced at City Council. In 2018, the City is still in need of a solution to the commercial vacancies blighting our neighborhoods. The Small Business Jobs Survival Act will encourage both parties, property owners and small business owners, to establish fair conditions and requirements for lease renewal negotiations, including requirements for lease renewal terms, arbitration-triggering conditions, limits on security deposits and prohibitions on landlord retaliation. The coalition of SBJSA supporters have united to ensure that independent small businesses will have an opportunity to keep their storefronts.
“Small businesses have functioned as a gateway for immigrants to achieve the American Dream and have a path to the middle class throughout the history of this country. As the income inequality gap widens, we must ensure our small businesses continue to thrive and operate their bodegas, retail shops and bookstores in the city.”
“Our small businesses are the backbone of our City and we must empower them to have the tools necessary to be able to compete and stay as part of our city’s vibrant culture and diverse community,” said uptowns Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Small businesses have functioned as a gateway for immigrants to achieve the American Dream and have a path to the middle class throughout the history of this country. As the income inequality gap widens, we must ensure our small businesses continue to thrive and operate their bodegas, retail shops and bookstores in the city.”
“The unique character and diversity of New York City’s small businesses is what makes this city what it is,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “We must protect our city’s small businesses from being driven away by exorbitant rent increases and taken over by large corporate chains. Our city has long been a beacon of economic opportunity for immigrants and local mom-and-pop shops and the Council must do all that we can do to keep it that way.”
“Our City’s success through the centuries has been made possible because of small businesses. They employ everyday New Yorkers and make New York City truly unique,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “The Small Business Jobs Survival Act has my support because our small businesses are crucial to keeping New York City vibrant and a desired place to work and visit. We must protect small business and work to getting each one of them the best chance of survival.”
“Small businesses helped to build New York City, and they continue to play a critical role in providing goods and services, and employment. On the Upper West Side, we have seen a number of small businesses close because they have not been able to renew their leases for a variety of reasons, and our community has really felt this loss. I am very proud to be a co-sponsor of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. It offers real pathways for commercial tenants and landlords to continue their lease arrangements, and for businesses to stay in their local communities,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Manhattan, District 6).
“I was recently in London, and I couldn’t find a single vacant storefront. The streets were clean and lively. London has a Landlord and Tenant Act ensuring that tenants occupying premises for business purposes have a statutory right to renew their lease, unless it is opposed on specified statutory grounds. There are things we can do now in New York City, halting the growing blight of empty storefronts. There are ideas at home, and examples abroad. Something must be done soon,” said Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson Books.
“The Small Business Jobs Survival Act is essential to giving small businesses in our neighborhoods a fighting chance and ending the blight of empty storefronts being warehoused by landlords holding out for big box chain stores or unsustainably high rents. It’s a common-sense measure which should be enacted right away,” said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
“Small businesses are critical to the economic and social vibrancy of New York City. Yet in our brutal real estate market, they are often the hardest hit by exploitation. We need to put in place policies that support small businesses – especially immigrant small businesses whose suffering is compounded by this situation. This bill will put those protections in place and ensure every New Yorker can achieve the American Dream.” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.
“We are facing a real crisis in this city with mom-and-pop businesses struggling to survive due to rising rents and unfair landlord tactics,” said District 30 Councilman Robert Holden. “Small businesses, including franchises, are the lifeblood of local economies, yet the decks are stacked against them. We must always do more to help them grow and thrive.”
“Our city’s small businesses deserve relief,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “In recent years, mom-and-pop operations have had to contend with rapidly-rising commercial rents, as well as the explosion of online retail and big-box stores. The Small Business Jobs Survival Act will allow small businesses to negotiate leases that work best for them. This legislation is the first step toward ending the epidemic of vacant storefronts throughout our city, and putting New Yorkers back to work.”
Intro 0737, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, will be heard at the Committee on Small Business meeting on Monday, October 22, 2018, at 1:00 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall.