NY State Budget Includes “Huge” COVID-19 Relief Package For Small Businesses


Eating places and retailers that fell behind on their lease and different bills in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic will quickly have the ability to apply for added grants.

New York’s new state funds consists of $800 million in direct money help for small companies. State Assemblyman Harvey Epstein of Manhattan, who had been lobbying for the help stated the bundle units priorities: companies with 100 or fewer workers; these with 10 or fewer; and people owned by girls and minorities. 

“So everybody ought to apply, however people who find themselves small are going to get a leg up,” he defined. “It is not going to cowl everybody’s lease fee throughout the state. However I feel we are going to see lots of people getting a whole lot of help for lease, taxes, utilities.”

Epstein stated companies must show they misplaced a minimum of 40 p.c of their earnings, by evaluating their revenues in 2020 to 2019. Empire State Improvement can be accountable for this system and can write the principles throughout the subsequent few weeks. He stated the purpose is to make sure cash is distributed promptly, not like the fund for lease aid. 

State Price range Director Robert Mujica stated the state is utilizing among the $5 billion for enterprise aid it simply obtained from the newest federal stimulus, to assist small companies that both weren’t eligible or didn’t obtain as a lot federal support as they wanted in earlier packages.

“The principle purpose of this system is to get individuals again to work,” he stated Wednesday, at a press convention with Governor Andrew Cuomo. “It’s to verify we are able to get these companies going to allow them to re-employ and produce the unemployment fee again down, and take care of lacking funds, lease funds they haven’t been in a position to make.”

Small companies had been lobbying Albany for laws referred to as Save Our Storefronts, price $500 million particularly for eating places and retailers with 25 or fewer full-time equal workers. It will have additionally required taking part landlords to scale back their month-to-month lease by 20%. However the Actual Property Board of New York thought of it overly difficult, and didn’t see a necessity to change leases.

The ultimate funds scrapped the proposed lease reductions. However Chris LaCass, an organizer with Save Our Storefronts, referred to as the $800 million bundle “big.” 

“It exhibits that we are able to do these massive issues, we are able to truly battle in opposition to the lobbyists and the particular pursuits which have held New York captive, politically.”

Nonetheless, he questioned why companies with as much as 100 workers might apply for support. His coalition needed to assist these with 25 or fewer for a purpose.

“Most of these companies over 50 workers received all the pieces,” he stated. “They’ve the attorneys, they’ve the accountants who can put collectively an software bundle inside 48 hours of the principles being identified. 

“Small companies, mother and pop retailers, girls who’re single moms who personal a enterprise, they don’t have the capability to show one thing round that rapidly,” he defined, noting there are additionally immigrant enterprise homeowners who might not communicate English or know who to seek the advice of.

Epstein stated he additionally needed a extra stringent definition of small enterprise, and stated he’ll encourage the Empire State Improvement Company to provide precedence to the smallest ones that want extra help. He’s additionally telling enterprise homeowners to contact their native state lawmakers and town’s small enterprise applications for assist with their functions.

Women in masks sit at tables with boxes on them, assembling flowers. Shelves of boxes are in the background.


mployees at M & S Schmalberg work on assembling particular person synthetic flowers within the firm’s manufacturing unit within the Garment District, February 9, 2021


Tony Son, proprietor of Unit Cleaners in Jackson Heights, Queens estimates he misplaced half his enterprise after the pandemic struck, as a result of individuals aren’t dressing for work of their workplaces anymore. He stated he pays his landlord no matter he can afford every month.

“At any time when I’ve cash I pay to the owner and the owner is simply ready for the total fee however I can not pay the total fee,” he stated. The extra support would assist him, however he thinks lawmakers and landlords ought to work out a longer- time period technique as a result of companies like his personal will proceed to wrestle this 12 months.

“Even when they provide me $10,000 that’s simply two months’ lease,” he stated. 

Linda Pagan, proprietor of The Hat Store in SoHo, agrees it’s going to take greater than cash to pay previous payments to get her enterprise again on monitor. She estimates she owes $47,000 in again lease. 

“I additionally have to renegotiate my lease, my lease,” she defined. “The panorama has modified drastically. Neglect about individuals coming again into the neighborhood. Individuals are not going to be working or purchasing the best way they have been earlier than the pandemic.”

Take heed to senior reporter Beth Fertig’s radio story for WNYC:

Along with $800 million in money aid for small companies, the state funds incorporates one other $200 million in whole for eating places and humanities organizations. This latter piece consists of $25 million in grant funding to assist eating places that present meals to distressed and under-represented communities, $40 million for arts and cultural nonprofit organizations, $35 million in tax credit for hard-hit eating places, and as much as $100 million in tax credit to leap begin tourism exercise in New York Metropolis.

And there’s $100 million for an additional kind of enterprise: distressed accommodations. This fund would allow the state to buy accommodations and switch them over to non-profit builders, who can then construct supportive, reasonably priced housing for individuals in want. This system is just for New York Metropolis and doesn’t embrace the principle business enterprise districts of Manhattan.

Deputy State Senate Chief Michael Gianaris, of Queens, estimated there are dozens of accommodations that couldn’t pay their mortgages and lease, as a result of they misplaced a lot tourism in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However their buildings might be used to assist clear up town’s housing disaster.

“The notion of marrying these two wants is a really elegant means of fixing each of these issues,” he stated. 

However Vijay Dandapani, president of the Resort Affiliation of New York Metropolis, sounded skeptical about how a lot good this system might do with solely $100 million.

“Even in Lengthy Island Metropolis, a 100- room lodge in all probability prices the proprietor together with land someplace round $25-30 million to do. At that quantity, you are speaking 4 accommodations in the event you’re fortunate. So 4 accommodations, 400 rooms. That’s not insignificant but it surely’s not big.”

Gianaris stated he initially searched for $250 million and hopes the state and federal authorities will ultimately add to this system. “It’s a place to begin,’ he stated.

Beth Fertig is a senior reporter overlaying town’s restoration efforts at WNYC. You possibly can observe her on Twitter at @bethfertig.