NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
August 28, 2002
Statement From Speaker Sheldon Silver
On Empire Zone For Lower Manhattan

I urge the Pataki administration to immediately approve New York City's application for an Empire Zone in the community that I represent, Lower Manhattan. Empire Zones have been winners in generating jobs and economic growth across our state. Lower Manhattan needs the boost that an Empire Zone can produce, and we need it now.

A Lower Manhattan Empire Zone will play an important role in the revitalization of communities that have suffered significantly since September 11 and are still struggling.

I introduced legislation in the Assembly to establish this Empire Zone, which is particularly important to the small businesses that are truly the economic backbone of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, South Street Seaport, Financial District, Battery Park City and the rest of downtown.

In the downtown commercial community, retail shops, restaurants and other small businesses were particularly hard hit. With 120,000 jobs lost in Lower Manhattan and a reduction in tourist traffic to Chinatown, the South Street Seaport and other areas since September 11, delis, restaurants, clothing stores, newsstands and other businesses experienced a precipitous drop in revenues that persists even now.

The Assembly Majority created the Empire Zone concept in 1999 to bolster struggling communities all around the state by using a range of tax-based incentives to attract new businesses and support existing ones. By fostering all kinds of commercial activity, a Lower Manhattan Empire Zone will stimulate economic activity that ultimately benefits not just the immediate area but all New Yorkers as well.

I commend Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council for working together to quickly prepare and approve the city's application for the Empire Zone.

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New York State Assembly
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