By Gina Martinez
State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) is garnering support for his bill in support of small businesses.
Last week, city Public Advocate Letitia James wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in support of Kim’s small business bill to ease regulation of the dry cleaning and nail salon industry and offer funding.
Kim and local small business leaders met with James to discuss the issues and concerns facing small business owners and spoke to James about the increasingly difficult economic and regulatory environment many in the community face stemming from the burdens of Cuomo’s executive mandates.
Following the meeting, James offered support for Kim’s recent legislation to create a fund to help small businesses in the two industries and wrote a letter in support of the assemblyman’s bill. The letter was delivered to Cuomo’s desk Dec. 6 and he has until Dec. 18 to decide whether to sign the bill.
Kim said he is thankful for James’ support of the legislation and that he hopes her letter to the governor will further convince him of the need to support New York’s struggling mom-and-pop stores.
“It is essential that after years of economic hardship and institutional neglect, we acknowledge the vital role small businesses play in our state’s economy,” he said. “Working-class entrepreneurs represent the heart of New York. I have done all that I can to ensure this bill’s passage, and now that it has been delivered to the governor’s desk, I hope those who support it will continue to do all they can to persuade him of its importance.”
Kim has been a longtime supporter of small businesses. Last year Kim worked with former State Sen. Daniel Squadron to pass a law expanding micro-loan access for small businesses and championed another bill to protect seafood retailers from fraudulent practices that was signed into law.
At the beginning of this year’s legislative session Kim added a funding measure for small businesses in the Assembly’s proposed budget, but following budget negotiations with the Senate and Governor it was removed. Kim introduced the aforementioned legislation to enact the same funding measure and was able to get the bill passed in both houses of the state Legislature in this year’s session.
Kim has the support of the dry cleaning and nail industry, which say Kim’s bill will help small businesses survive.
Michael Gao, president of the Chinese American Nail Salon Association, said Kim’s legislation is extremely important and would provide the necessary financial assistance for nail salons across New York State.
“Small businesses provide crucial services and represent real opportunities for working class people,” he said. “This bill will help entrepreneurs meet their regulatory responsibilities, including the latest mandates and regulations, while staying in business during difficult economic times. For the nail salon industry, it would help us fulfill the newest state ventilation regulations, which require most shops to do costly structural changes or purchase expensive equipment.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart