Our last legislative session contained some successes for small business owners. One major victory was we were able to pass a property tax cap. This is something our property and business owners have been calling for and I was happy to vote for its passage in the Assembly. We still have much work to do to continue to bring the cost of doing business down in New York so that we can make strides toward creating jobs. Being friendlier to small businesses will keep more business owners here and help attract new ones.
When you look at the numbers, I don’t see how we can afford not to. Nearly 98 percent of all New York businesses are small businesses – about 1.7 million in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than half of all working New Yorkers earn a paycheck from a small business owner. The U.S. Census reports that for the foreseeable future, businesses of 100 employees or fewer will account for 60 to 80 percent of new job growth. We need to lower the costs further and take down some of these hidden fees for businesses.
We need to reduce the regulatory burdens on our small business owners. To give you an idea of the amount of regulations we have in place, the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) publication consists of 82 volumes. The total weight of the 82 volumes is 267.8 pounds, and costs $2,787 to order. If you laid those pages down next to each other, it would equal 4.4 miles! No state needs this many regulations.
When we hear from small business owners at my office, many feel as though they’ve been treated unfairly by the state, with an unnecessary fine or fee. When I hear their stories and investigate, it’s frustrating to learn how they have been treated. Our policies should be focused on providing incentives for things like electronic filing of taxes, rather than assessing fines when they do not do so.
Small Business Financing Options
Since session ended, some changes have taken place at the federal level and, in turn, have been passed on to the state that will help small businesses obtain loans and credit. As part of the newly created State Small Business Credit Initiative, small businesses may qualify for loans that were previously denied. Under the state’s Capital Access Program (CAP), banks can tap into state funds to offset the risks involved in lending to a small business with few assets. This lowers the risk for the bank, enabling banks to draw from a reserve fund if loan terms are breached.
Entrepreneurs just starting out, who may not have a lot of collateral, may find banks saying “yes” whereas before, they said “no” because the risk was too great. In order to take advantage of this program, banks must enroll in the newly modified program and enter into agreement with the Empire State Development council to become a participating lender. To find out if your bank is a member, call the New York State Small Business Division of ESD at 1-800-782-8369.
Other programs recently created or revamped include:
· Innovate NY Fund, a fund designed to support innovation, job creation and high-growth entrepreneurship.
· The Bonding Guarantee Assistance Program provides credit support to help small, minority and women-owned businesses secure bonding.
· Another program that small businesses can take advantage of is the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, a $50 million fund designed to create economic activity by providing greater access to capital for main street businesses. The program is targeted to small businesses that have had difficulty accessing regular credit markets. The 2010-11 State budget provided $25 million in state funds and will leverage at least $25 million in private matching funds.
· The State’s Linked Deposit program helps existing businesses obtain reduced-rate financing to expand or update equipment. For more on this program, visit http://www.esd.ny.gov/BusinessPrograms/LinkedDeposit
For information on any of these programs and for more programs available to small businesses, visit the Empire State Development web site at www.esd.ny.gov. If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185. You may also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.