Assembly Passes Bill Package to Bolster New York Small Businesses

March 10, 2009
Assemblywoman Rhoda S. Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced the Assembly passed a package of bills designed to help small businesses thrive in New York State while making it easier for women and minorities to own businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy – they’re at the heart of innovation and new technology, and they play a vital role in keeping our state running. In these daunting economic times it’s critical that we make it easier for small businesses to grow and prosper, that we give them all the help we can in order to preserve and create jobs and get our economy back on track.” Jacobs said. “The success of small businesses is absolutely vital to the success and vibrancy of New York’s communities.”

According to federal census data, small businesses are the source of up to 80 percent of all new jobs in the U.S.

“With these measures, the Assembly has taken steps to ensure resources are available to help get new businesses off the ground and to help existing companies grow,” said Jacobs. “Without their success, we won’t be able to replace the jobs we’ve lost during this downturn.”

Specifically, the Assembly’s legislation:

  • makes it easier for small businesses to receive loans through the Small Business Regional Revolving Loan Program (A.3384);
  • establishes a competitive grant program for small businesses to seek new markets and niche products and work with small manufacturers to identify and develop these markets and products (A.4550);
  • provides zero- or low-interest loans for energy efficiency projects, further allowing small businesses to grow and create new jobs (A.3945);
  • creates the micro-business outreach center and program to provide small businesses access to economic development funds and advice (A.3193);
  • 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, while also improving local farm sustainability by providing an outlet for farmers to sell their products (A.4166); and
  • requires that a deferred installment payment plan be offered to small businesses for telephone service installation, initiation and nonrecurring maintenance charges (A.2928).

“The recession hits small businesses especially hard because often they exist too close to the margins. Losses are more deeply felt and recovery more difficult,” Jacobs added. “Wildly fluctuating energy prices, plus a tightening credit market, plus slowed consumer spending all add up to serious trouble for New York’s small businesses and their thousands upon thousands of employees and the people they serve.”

Many of the bills devoted to small-business legislation are designed to aid minority- and women-owned businesses, in particular. The legislation:

  • establishes entrepreneurship assistance centers, primarily for minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and dislocated workers (A.4459);
  • establishes a procedure requiring certain state agencies and authorities to submit a goal plan and to establish compliance reporting of goals in order to improve the participation of minority-and-women-owned businesses in state contracts (A.4810);
  • improves outreach efforts of the Department of Economic Development’s divisions for Small Business and Minority and Women’s Business Development (A.4097);
  • requires New York agencies to post contractor utilization plans on their Web sites to ensure Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) members get the work promised them (A.4092); and
  • improves the MWBE program by encouraging joint ventures, partnerships and mentor-protégé relationships between prime contractors and minority- and women-owned business enterprises (A.4168).

Ms. Jacobs said these bills would provide minorities and women who own small businesses access to vital financial support they would otherwise not be eligible for – or would have trouble obtaining.

“Large corporations have had better access to state and federal benefits, while smaller companies have been overlooked. Small businesses and new entrepreneurs deserve the same opportunities to succeed that larger companies enjoy, and this kind of assistance – especially in the current economic climate – will help get small businesses up and running and create the jobs we need right here at home,” concluded Jacobs.