BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER WILLIAM SCARBOROUGH
New York has experienced a number of severe storms in recent years, and the resulting damage has been devastating to residents and to businesses. Damage from the two storms is said to exceed $40 billion to New Yorkers, and it is evident that we can now expect more severe weather events in the future. The damage to residences is tragic, but equally devastating is the damage to businesses, especially small businesses.
Small business is the key to many local economies as well as the engine that drive the overall economic recovery of our region. Many small businesses have been shut down due to storm damage in the Rockaways, Staten Island and elsewhere, or are severely restricted in their ability to do business. History shows that if these businesses cannot recover within 6 to 12 months they often do not reopen, or close theirs doors if they cannot return to economic viability. There is a huge loss to the community in terms of economic activity and the loss of jobs.
As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Small Business, I am introducing legislation to create a Severe Weather Business Recovery Tax Credit in New York State. A similar program has been hugely successful in Joplin, Missouri and has greatly aided that city in returning to economic viability after an F5 tornado destroyed Joplin in May, 2011. New Yorkers have been extraordinarily generous with their time and resources during times of crisis, but I hear repeatedly from businesses which have not gotten the resources they need, or have not gotten them in a timely manner. The Business Recovery Tax Credit would provide for a 50% credit on donations of $1,000 or more and donations would go directly to assisting businesses to recover from the effects of the storm. The fund would be overseen by the Empire State Development Corporation, and be administered locally through the Chamber of Commerce. Donations made through calendar year 2013 would be eligible for the credit.
Local communities need their businesses back, and thriving. Their employees need their jobs back, our regional economy needs these businesses to do well for our economic recovery. A big part of rebuilding these communities involves rebuilding these businesses. When people have their jobs or can find a new one in their community, they are more likely to stay in that community. Hope is restored when people have jobs, and the goods and services that businesses provide. Restoring these businesses will help to restore the community, and residents, not-for-profits and schools all benefit. Even with insurance, bank assistance and federal and local disaster programs, our local businesses need additional assistance. This program will allow those wishing to help out to donate in an organized meaningful manner, while getting something back for their generosity, and helping to rebuild our communities and our economy.