NYS Assembly Committee on
Small Business
2006 Legislative Update

Sheldon Silver, Speaker • Mark S. Weprin, Chair • August 2006

Assemblyman Mark S. Weprin Message
from the

Dear Friend:

Enclosed is a report on the activities of the Assembly Small Business Committee. I am pleased to provide an update on the Committee’s highlights from the 2006 legislative session. I know I speak for the members of the Committee when I say that we look forward to the forthcoming challenges and opportunities to enhance the small business community. We’ve certainly made progress but much more remains to be done.

Thanks to the support of Speaker Sheldon Silver, along with the cooperation of my committee members and staff, the Small Business Committee enjoyed a busy and productive year. Please feel free to contact my committee colleagues and me with your comments so that we can continue to assist small businesses throughout New York State.

Member of Assembly

Small Business Day

Every year in March the Business Council of New York State sponsors Small Business Day for small businesses and chambers of commerce throughout the State.

In recognition of the contributions the small business community makes to the economic vitality of New York State as a major source of employment and the backbone of the economy in many New York communities, the Assembly traditionally passes a number of bills that promote small business growth.

The following package of bills was approved by the Assembly:

A.262 (Destito) Assists small businesses through the Industrial Effectiveness Program in pursuing pollution prevention funding opportunities and complying with federal and state environmental laws.

A.521 (Koon) Requires state economic development agencies to provide preferences to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the programs they administer.

A.2657 (Destito) Establishes the Small Business Clean Environment Fund to assist small businesses in obtaining loans from financial institutions for the acquisition of pollution control equipment to achieve pollution prevention and/or compliance with federal and state environmental laws.

A.3443 (Schimminger) Clarifies how funds will be allocated within the NYS Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research so the Small Business Innovation Research program can begin anew to assist small high technology companies compete for federal SBIR funds which will help them grow and provide new jobs for New Yorkers.

A.3717 (Cook) Provides start-up and expansion funding for not-for-profit sponsors of small-scale food processing facilities to foster entrepreneurship, job development, and community revitalization.

A.4970 (Sweeney) Authorizes credit unions to participate in the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program and raises the limits on the amount on deposit at any given time.

A.6332 (Christensen) Provides for regional offices of the Department of Economic Development to offer information and assistance to small businesses on environmental compliance and pollution prevention and provide technical and financial assistance to promote compliance with environmental standards.

A.6431 (Magnarelli) Provides grants to small businesses and research institutions to translate discoveries and inventions into commercially viable products in New York State.

A.6704 (Weprin) Creates the micro-business outreach center assistance program and micro-business outreach center.

A.6758 (Cohen, A.) Provides small businesses with grants to commercialize energy and environmental technology innovations in-state.

A.8352 (Weprin) Provides zero- and low-interest loans or loan interest rate reduction for energy improvement projects to stimulate the growth and development of small businesses and jobs.

A.8429 (Koon) Requires deferred installment payment plan be offered to small businesses for telephone service installation, initiation and nonrecurring maintenance charges.

Public Hearings/Roundtables


Small business owners can provide valuable information for the formulation of public policy through discussions, hearings or roundtables. Our most recent roundtable, “State Programs For Micro-Business Assistance: Are they Working?” brought together a panel of experts from micro-business development organizations, micro-loan programs, community development funding institutions, library business centers and business owners, to discuss strategies for improving the state’s outreach to micro-businesses. On June 2, 2006, I had the honor, together with Assemblywoman Millman, Chair of the Commission on Government Administration, to host a Roundtable on Micro-Businesses at Borough Hall in Brooklyn.

The Roundtable was co-sponsored by Assemblyman José Rivera (D-Bronx), Chair of the Task Force o n Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca), Chair of the Task Force on Women’s Issues, and Assemblywoman Joan Christensen (D-Syracuse), Chair of the Commission on Skills Development.

2006-2007 Budget Summary

The Committee works closely with a number of State agencies and public authorities to ensure that they are serving the needs of the small business community. These include the Department of Economic Development (DED), the New York Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR — now officially established as the Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation), the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC — a public authority of ESDC, which are the State’s chief economic development entities). The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is currently doing business as the ESDC. The mission of the UDC/ESDC is to promote economic development and real estate development by providing financial assistance to local governments, businesses and not-for-profit corporations engaged in economic development activities.

In SFY 2006-2007 the Legislature, after negotiating changes to the budget, adopted prior to April 1st, fully funded the following programs related to small business programs through UDC/ESDC:

Jobs Now – provides funding for large-scale projects that will create new jobs ($32.1 million);

Economic Development Fund – invests in projects that create or retain jobs ($32.2 million);

Urban and Community Development Program – provides State technical assistance and capital for the start-up of “micro-enterprise” businesses and provides funds for development in economically distressed communities ($3.5 million);

Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses Development and Lending Program (MWBDL) –
makes capital available for local loan fund to start-up minority and women-owned businesses and provides funds for business development in economically distressed areas ($ 3.5 million).

Funding for the MWBDL program will be sub-allocated as follows:

Entrpreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) – these centers provide comprehensive assistance in starting a business and helping new businesses succeed ($1.3 million);

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) – promote community development in economically distressed areas by providing loans, investments and/or banking services to individuals and small businesses that reside in such areas ($1.5 million).

At the Department of Economic Development, the Legislature provided an additional $500,000 to the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program Centers. Also, $2.3 million was provided for Empire Zone Administration to help municipalities hire qualified staff to run the local operations associated with the Empire Zone Program.

At NYSTAR the following statutory Statewide programs were fully funded as follows:

Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs) – work with New York companies on developing new technologies and products, and creating new businesses and high quality jobs throughout the state ($15 million);

Technology Development Organizations (TDO’s) – provide technical assistance to high-tech companies seeking to remain competitive ($2.5 million).

2006 Legislative Initiatives

Listed below are some of the Small Business measures that were passed by the State Assembly during the 2006 Legislative Session.

Expanding the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program

A.3209 (Schimminger) would allow qualifying businesses located in certain areas designated under the Federal Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (federal empowerment zones, enterprise communities & renewal communities) to be eligible for numerous loans at the most beneficial interest rate provided through the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program.

A.6923 (Rivera, P.) would authorize the Comptroller and the Department of Taxation & Finance to make single Excelsior linked deposits that would provide funding for a series of eligible small business loans.

Small Business Niche Market Assistance

A.6279 (Towns) would establish a competitive program within UDC to provide grants to a not-for-profit corporation or Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program with a demonstrated capacity to conduct market analysis and seek new markets for niche products for manufacturers. It would enable the grant recipients to work with and assist small manufacturers in identifying and developing niche markets.

Minority- and Women-Owned Business Assistance

A.9070 (Millman) would improve outreach efforts of the Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Divisions for Small Business and Minority and Women’s Business Development by expanding the membership of the small business and minority- & women-owned business advisory boards as well as expanding the powers and duties of these boards.

A.9839 (Titus) would aid in obtaining technical, managerial, financial and other business assistance for certified businesses and applicants by creating statewide and regional minority- and women-owned business enterprise advocates.

Assisting NY Entrepreneurs

A.11155 (Weprin) would create the “New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award”; the winner of such award would receive $25,000 to assist with his or her entrepreneurial efforts.

photo Assemblymember Mark Weprin (left) receives the first “Champion of Small Business” Award from Support Services Alliance Vice President Chris Koetzle.

Champion of Small Business

Support Services Alliance (SSA), a small business membership organization serving thousands of members statewide, presented Assemblymember Mark Weprin with the Champion of Small Business Award. Mr. Weprin was pleased that SSA chose him to receive the award, which was presented for the first time this year.

“Small business is truly the engine that drives New York State’s economy,” said Assemblymember Weprin, “I will continue working to foster a climate that encourages small business growth and development in New York State.”

The SSA offers nearly 20 different programs and services designed to help small businesses grow. Assemblymember Weprin is Chair of the Assembly Small Business Committee and a leading advocate for business development in the state.

Restore New York’s
Communities Initiative

New York’s aging cities and other communities have numerous residential and commercial properties that have fallen into disrepair and are no longer structurally viable. This has resulted in unstable neighborhoods with extensive vacant and abandoned structures. This, in turn, has led to the loss of jobs and population to suburban areas, areas outside the region, and the State. As a result, municipal tax bases have been eroded and compromised as the assessed value of property declines.

In response to these conditions, the Assembly proposed the Restore New York’s Communities Initiative. This proposal was enthusiastically embraced by the Senate, which joined the Assembly in its passage. The legislation creates two programs: the Demolition and Deconstruction Program and the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.

In order to participate, municipalities will be required to assess and list their vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

The list will be submitted to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) for approval of grants for:

  • demolition and deconstruction - up to $20,000 per residential structure
  • rehabilitation and reconstruction - up to $100,000 per residential structure

The amount of funding available for the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation and reconstruction of commercial properties will be established by ESDC based on a cost per square foot basis with a consideration of regional cost differences. The Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program will also provide funding for site development which may include water, sewer, parking and other costs associated with making improvements to distressed properties.

Funding for the program is as follows: $300 million over three years, with $50 million in SFY ’06 – ’07; $100 million in SFY ’07 – ’08; and $150 million in SFY ’08 – ’09.

Further Encouraging Minority- and
Women-Owned Businesses

The Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) program, commonly referred to as Article 15-A, was established in 1988 to increase and promote participation in State contracts by minority and women group members. Last year the Assembly held hearings across the State to determine the effectiveness of the program and to determine what updates were necessary to keep the program vital.

In SFY 2006-2007, the Legislature, after negotiating changes to the budget, adopted the following two MWBE bills:

A.9256-A (Peoples) Authorizes a State Disparity Study to Justify MWBE Programs. A disparity study would examine the current MWBE program and determine whether there is a disparity between the number of qualified MWBEs ready and able to perform state contracts and the number of such contractors actually engaged to perform such contracts. It would also analyze state policies affecting MWBEs and conduct disparity analysis by market area and region of the State.

A.9839 (Titus) Creates a State MWBE Advocate. Hearings have indicated that ESDC has not been conducting outreach programs with MWBE owners or state procurement officers. The State Advocate would be responsible for conducting regional outreach programs and for working with MWBE owners to ease the certification process.

Assemblyman Mark S. Weprin • Chair, Assembly Committee on Small Business
Room 626 LOB • Albany, NY 12248 • 518-455-5806 • weprinm@assembly.state.ny.us

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