Assemblyman Ramos: Small Businesses Legislation Passes Assembly
Small businesses play crucial role in New York's economy

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) today announced Assembly passage of a package of bills that he sponsored designed to help small businesses receive much-needed assistance.

"Small businesses create eight out of ten jobs in New York," Ramos said. "During these difficult economic times, we must do all we can to keep these vital businesses growing and thriving."

Giving small businesses greater access to needed capital

The Assembly passed legislation requiring the state Department of Economic Development to give small businesses and entrepreneurs priority consideration in the awarding of state economic development assistance (A.3913).

"Larger businesses usually have a competitive advantage in securing state help, even though many state programs have been developed to assist small businesses," Ramos said. "We have to correct this imbalance and level the playing field for our small businesses. They are the heart of many New York communities and need the same opportunities as big businesses."

To offer greater access to capital through a wider range of lenders, the Assembly approved a bill authorizing credit unions to participate in the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program which provides small businesses with low-cost loans (A.2078). By offering business loans, credit unions can expand the options available to small businesses that may have been denied loans through other financial institutions.

Cutting start-up costs

To help ease the burden of start-up and expansion costs, the Assembly passed legislation allowing small businesses to defer payment of telephone installation charges for up to one year (A.4531). Allowing these payments to be deferred will ease cash flow crunches for start-up firms and encourage new small business growth in New York.

Helping small businesses meet environmental standards

"One of the most effective ways to ensure businesses meet the challenge of complying with the myriad environmental regulations is to provide them with technological and financial assistance," Ramos said.

The Assembly passed two bills aimed at keeping small businesses up to date with state regulations. The first measure provides information and financial assistance regarding environmental compliance and pollution prevention through the Department of Economic Development (A.314).

The second measure offers additional assistance through the state's Industrial Effectiveness Program, which helps small businesses keep up with rapidly changing environmental regulations (A.1512).

"Most small business owners want to comply with state and federal environmental laws, but often lack the financial resources or technical know-how. It's important that we provide incentives and assistance to small businesses to protect our environment," Ramos said.

Fighting the governor's flawed budget

The governor continues to place the burden of these tough economic times on the shoulders of our working families and small businesses. His proposed budget will not only increase the cost of doing business in New York, but will pass along $6.7 billion in hidden taxes on businesses and working families.

The governor proposes:

  • a nearly 20 percent property tax hike, caused by his $1.4 billion cut to school aid;
  • a $1.3 million cut to the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program - which provides technical assistance to small businesses;
  • a $2 million cut to the Downtown Development Initiative Grant Program - which helps revitalize downtown and commercial areas; and
  • a $1.3 million cut to the I heart New York Program and Local Tourism Matching Grant Program funding, with the option of not funding local tourism promotion agencies at all.

The Assembly successfully fought his attempt to force localities to pay half the cost of the Empire Zones program. The Empire Zones program was championed by the state Assembly's majority and has been one of the most effective tools in the state's arsenal to create jobs in our communities - but the governor's plan would have effectively killed the program. Although the governor backed away from this wrong choice, he did not restore the $3.5 million for administering the program - leaving lingering questions as to his long term commitment to the program, thereby undermining the program's future.

"Governor Pataki's budget is the wrong choice for New York," Ramos said. "Whether it's his attempts to abandon Empire Zones and other pro-business programs or devastating cuts to local schools and health care, I will fight to make the right choices for our families and small businesses."

Ongoing efforts to improve New York's business climate

The Assembly's small business package is the latest effort to make New York a better place to do business. The Assembly has supported a broad range of incentives to foster economic growth in New York, including expanding the Power for Jobs program - which provides low-cost energy for businesses that create jobs.

"Small businesses continue to be the lifeblood of the state's economy," Ramos said. "The future of the state depends on their continued success. The Assembly's small business package will assist and nurture these businesses that make New York the Empire State."