New York State Assembly
Committee on Small Business
2007 Legislative

Sheldon Silver, Speaker Mark S. Weprin, Chair March 2008

Assemblyman Mark S. Weprin

Message from the Chair

Dear Friend:

Enclosed is an update on the activities of the Assembly Small Business Committee, including highlights from the 2007 Legislative Session. As you can see from the following list of bills that came through the Small Business Committee in 2007, we have made some progress in our efforts to bring improvements to the small business community.

With the cooperation of my committee members and their staff, as well as the support of Speaker Silver, we have concluded another year. If you have any comments or suggestions that may aid us in our efforts to assist small businesses to grow throughout New York, please do not hesitate to contact me or my committee colleagues.

Member of Assembly

2007 Legislative Initiatives

We are proud to have had signed into law A.726 (Christensen), Chapter 572 of the laws of 2007, on August 15, 2007. This measure provides for regional offices to offer information and assistance to small businesses on environmental compliance and pollution prevention.

Also, listed below are some of the small-business measures that were passed by the state Assembly during the 2007 Legislative Session.

Assisting a Growing Sector in Micro–Businesses

A.2766 (Weprin) would create the Micro-enterprise Business Outreach Center Assistance Program to ensure that business outreach centers serving micro-enterprises will be able to provide the opportunity and benefits of these services to a greater population throughout New York State, as well as receive federal funding to assist in the operation of the program.

Small Business Niche Market Assistance

A.2877 (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 grant recipients to work with and assist small manufacturers in identifying and developing niche markets.

Technology Commercialization Assistance

A.284 (Magnarelli) would establish the Technology Commercialization Assistance Program within the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which would focus on establishing grants for research institutions to assist in developing successful products, therein creating more jobs for the state.

Minority– and Women–Owned Business Assistance

A.2329-A (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- and women-owned business advisory boards, as well as expand the powers and duties of these boards.

A.6939 (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.

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.284 (Magnarelli) provides grants to small businesses and research institutions to translate discoveries and inventions into commercially viable products.

A.726 (Christensen) offers information and assistance on environmental compliance and pollution prevention—including technical and financial assistance—from the Department of Economic Development’s regional offices.

A.1062 (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.1311 (Brodsky) establishes a procedure requiring state agencies and authorities subject to Article 15-A of the Executive Law to submit a goal plan and to establish compliance reporting of such goals in order to facilitate the participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses on state contracts.

A.1561 (Destito) assists small businesses through the Industrial Effectiveness Program in pursuing pollution-prevention funding opportunities and complying with federal and state environmental laws.

A.1921 (Weprin) creates the “New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award”; winner of such award shall receive $25,000 to assist with his/her entrepreneurial efforts; criteria for such award shall be established by the small business and entrepreneurship advisory board.

A.2204 (Millman) increases money for the Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) program by requiring the state comptroller to establish a specific MWBE (Article 15-A) implementation fund.

A.2293 (Millman) requires free daily online publication of New York State contract reports to expand the notification of business opportunities to MWBE members.

A.2329 (Millman) improves outreach efforts of the Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Divisions for Small Business and Minority and Women’s Business Development.

A.2766 (Weprin) creates the micro-business outreach center assistance program and micro-business outreach center.

A.2877 (Towns) creates the niche-market assistance projects for small businesses to identify and develop niche markets for their products in competitive environments.

A.3205 (Sweeney) authorizes credit unions to participate in the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program to help businesses gain greater access to capital.

A.3329 (Millman) provides dispensation for performance and payment bonds for certain contracts with small, minority- or women-owned businesses; requires advertisement of dispensation.

A.3330 (Millman) requires New York agencies to post contractor utilization plans on their Web sites to ensure MWBE members get the work promised to them.

A.3392 (Millman) establishes a mentor-protégé program for small, minority- and women-owned businesses.

A.3680 (Cook) provides startup and expansion funding for not-for-profit sponsors of small-scale food processing facilities to foster entrepreneurship, job development and community revitalization. An additional goal is improving local farm sustainability by providing an outlet for farmers to sell, or add value themselves, to their farm products.

A.4498 (Cook) improves the MWBE program by encouraging joint ventures, partnerships and mentor-protégé relationships between prime contractors and minority- and women-owned business enterprises, as well as evaluating the effective implementation of the MWBE program.

A.4678 (Koon) requires a deferred installment payment plan be offered to small businesses for telephone service installation initiation and nonrecurring maintenance charges.

A.5494 (Weprin) provides zero and low interest loans for energy efficiency projects, further allowing small businesses to grow and create new jobs.

A.6149 (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.


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Assemblymember Mark S. Weprin was the keynote speaker at the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year Luncheon. Mr. Weprin, who is Chair of the Assembly Small Business Committee and a leading advocate for business development in the state, spoke to the gathered business people about the work of the Small Business Committee and about his vision of government as a partner that encourages business growth throughout New York.


2006-2007 Budget Summary

The Committee also works closely with a number of state agencies and public authorities to ensure that they are serving the needs of the small business community, including 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 Empire State Development Corporation (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 2007-2008, 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:

Economic Development Fund. Invests in projects that create or retain jobs ($40 million);

Urban and Community Development Program. Provides state technical assistance and capital for the startup of “micro-enterprise” businesses and provides funds for development in economically distressed communities ($3.5 million);

Excelsior Linked Deposit Program. Provides eligible small businesses with bank loans at an interest rate two to three percent lower than the prevailing commercial rate. The overall funding for the program is now at $460 million;

Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses Development and Lending Program (MWBDL). Makes capital available for local loan funds to startup minority- and women-owned businesses and provides funds for business development in economically distressed areas ($ 1.9 million).

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

Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP). Provides comprehensive assistance in starting a business and helping new businesses succeed. ($1.3 million);

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). 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).

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.

Assemblymember Mark Weprin Addresses Small Business Day Meeting

Assemblymember Mark Weprin spoke to business leaders from across New York State who gathered for the 2007 Small Business Day event at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York. Mr. Weprin is Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Small Business and a leading advocate for the interests of New York’s small business owners.

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

The Chamber Alliance of New York State and The Business Council of New York State cosponsored the Small Business Day event. The Chamber Alliance is an association of chambers of commerce and The Business Council is an organization that represents the interests of firms throughout 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 and 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. This initiative has proved to be of great value to restoring New York’s communities since its inception. The legislation enacted created two programs: the Demolition and Deconstruction Program and the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.

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 at $50 million in SFY ’06 – ’07, $100 million in SFY ’07 – ’08, and $150 million in SFY ’08 – ’09.

Public Hearings/Roundtables

Small business owners can provide valuable information for the formulation of public policy through discussions, hearings or roundtables.

State Programs For Micro-Business Assistance: Are they Working?

On June 2, 2006, Assemblymember Weprin, 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 cosponsored by Jose Rivera (D-Bronx), Chair of the Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy; Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca), Chair of the Task Force on Women’s Issues; and Joan Christensen (D-Syracuse), Chair of the Commission on Skills Development.

On November 20, 2006, the Small Business Committee held a Roundtable on Micro-Businesses Assistance in Developing the Upstate Economy at the South Side Innovation Center in Syracuse. Joan Christensen (D-Syracuse), Chair of the Commission on Skills Development; Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca), Chair of the Task Force on Women’s Issues; and David Koon, Chair of the Commission of Rural Resources, were present.

In contrast to the roundtable held in Brooklyn, a number of participants noted a need for very small loans. Clients often finance their business startups with personal credit cards. Loans of $2,000 and under are often all that is needed and are especially useful for food businesses.

The two roundtables 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 January 17, 2007, the Small Business Committee in conjunction with the Assembly Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation; the Assembly Subcommittee on Manufacturing; the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce & Industry, held a roundtable on Intellectual Property Policy in New York State. The focus of the roundtable was to establish what policy the state should have regarding IP, and what is appropriate for the state to have as a return on its investment in research and development and the commercialization of the research and development.

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