Speaker Carl Heastie, Small Business Committee Chair Al Stirpe; Economic Development Committee Chair Harry Bronson; Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Chair Daniel O’Donnell; Children and Families Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi; and Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner today announced that the Assembly’s State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Budget includes critical investments to help New York’s small businesses recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help get New Yorkers back to work.
“Recovering from this this global health crisis and its economic impact is a top priority for the Assembly Majority,” said Speaker Heastie. “Our budget makes critical investments that help our small businesses and the arts community rebound from this economic crisis, and ensures that families have the child care they need to get back to work. These are critical investments we need to recover from this public health emergency and the economic crisis it inflicted.”
Investments in Small Business
Since New York went “on Pause” in early 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19, small businesses across the state have struggled to keep their doors open. The Assembly’s proposed budget includes $1 billion for a new Small Business Reopening and Relief Grant Program to aid small businesses, including farms. Grants could be used to cover various business costs including payroll, rent, mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities, full or pro-rated state required fees as well as the purchase of various pandemic-related expenses such as personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect workers and consumers, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and other related construction costs.
The program would also set aside $500 million of the fund for companies that fall into priority categories, including Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE), microbusinesses with 10 employees or less, small businesses in economically distressed areas, veteran and service-disabled veteran owned/operated small businesses, as well as small businesses that operate within an industry sector that experienced a significant negative impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This set aside would be available for such small businesses during the first 90 days immediately after the launch of the program. This temporary window is intended to prevent the disproportionate participation by larger, better connected small businesses, while ensuring that such businesses are not prohibited from applying to the program on day one.
The Assembly’s proposal would also restore $700,000 for SUNY’s Small Business Development Centers program, for a total of $2.7 million.
Investments in the Arts
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on New York’s arts and entertainment industry. Across the state, museums and other venues were forced to close their doors for months and are still operating at a reduced capacity. The Assembly’s proposed spending plan would invest $100 million in a new Arts Recovery and Revitalization Program to assist with reopening efforts of various arts organizations and to provide financial support for the conversion of new outdoor venue spaces.
The Assembly’s budget also includes an additional $15 million for the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA), increasing the NYSCA’s Arts Program budget to $57.2 million. The spending plan also includes $1 million for an Arts Stabilization Fund and $20 million in capital support for the Arts and Cultural Facilities Improvement Program. Under the Assembly plan, $10 million of the $20 million investment within the Arts and Cultural Facilities Improvement Program would be provided exclusively to small and midsize organizations, whose recipients would be selected by NYSCA.
Investments in Child Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a significant blow to the child care sector, which has had a disproportionate impact on women and forced many out of the workforce. The Assembly budget would direct up to $1.8 billion in anticipated federal child care to priority areas, including expanding access to families earning up to 85 percent of the state median income and other groups not currently eligible for subsidies. The plan would also limit child care copays, provide compensation for absences and invest in workforce stabilization.
The plan also includes $500 million for additional state child care to support providers and families to expand eligibility and access to subsidies.
Investments in Labor
The Assembly plan also repurposes $50 million for the COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative to ensure that funds are directed toward those who have been most impacted by the economic fallout due to the pandemic, including women, minorities, and those who have been receiving unemployment benefits for an extended period of time.
The Assembly’s budget also restores $2.4 million in various labor initiatives, including $1.62 million for the Displaced Homemaker Program.
“In addition to the countless lives lost, the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a significant blow to our economy and devastated our small businesses,” said Assemblymember Stirpe. “These small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we must do everything within our power to help them recover. This budget reflects our commitment to ensuring our small businesses have the resources they need to overcome the many challenges they will face as we rebuild our economy.”
“This global health crisis delivered a massive blow to our economy that has touched every part of our state,” said Assemblymember Bronson. “Economic recovery from this devastating global crisis will be no small task, but this budget makes critical investments to get our economy up and running again, including critical investments in our small businesses, the arts community and our working families.”
“Arts are essential to New York State,” said Assemblymember O'Donnell. “Not only do they provide entertainment and sustain the soul and spirit of our communities, the arts are key economic drivers that keep our state running. Revitalizing the arts means putting people back to work in a wide range of industries and occupations, from artists and performers to administrators, electricians, carpenters, staff at restaurants and hotels around the state, and more. I am proud that our one house budget includes historic investment in artists and arts organizations - funding that will be a lifeline and allow the arts community to bounce back from the devastation of the pandemic. After a devastating year, the investments included in our budget would provide our arts communities the support they need to recover from the economic hit cause by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the impacts of insufficient child care access across the state, which too often disproportionately impacts women and children of color,” said Assemblymember Hevesi. “This pandemic has forced countless New Yorkers out of the workforce, hurting both our economy and their families. Our budget makes critical investments in child care so that people can get back to work and back to supporting their families.”
“This global health crisis has had a devastating effect on our economy,” said Assemblymember Joyner. “Countless New Yorkers lost their jobs and our small businesses have struggled to stay afloat. This budget will help lift that burden by helping New Yorkers safely return to work, assisting small businesses, and supporting child care for families so we can get our economy moving again.”