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Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Epicgenius
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Epicgenius

New York State should spend millions of dollars to give small businesses across the city a boost, according to a lawmaker representing Flushing and Whitestone.

Standing beside small business advocates and owners, Assemblyman Ron Kim announced last week that he had penned a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie requesting $50 million in funding be added to this year’s state budget.

 

The funds would be set aside to assist small businesses, such as dry cleaners and nail salons, as they continue to transition to environmentally friendly machinery and ventilation systems, as mandated by state and federal regulations.

“In recent years, New York has continued to take the initiative in advancing air quality and environmental safety practices,” Kim wrote in his letter to Heastie. “As fellow representatives of the state, we welcome all efforts to protect the safety and well-being of vulnerable workers … However, this has led to significant financial challenges for our state’s small businesses.”

Kim said similar funds were previously allocated under the state’s Financial Assistance to Businesses (FAB) program as part of the Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act of 1996. This subsidy program has since expired in 2014, according to Kim, who asks that the state “restore and expand” the program and once again provide assistance to these small business owners.

The letter was co-signed by three other Assemblymembers representing Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“I am pleased to stand with Assemblyman Kim and my fellow entrepreneurs in support of New York’s small businesses,” said Peter Yu, president of the Chinese Nail Salon Association of East America. “Targeted regulations and aggressive enforcement have caused severe harm to many of our local entrepreneurs. Numerous mom-and-pop stores are struggling just to survive — simply piling mandate after mandate on them only hurts the economy without helping anyone. We hope that other elected officials will hear our concerns and join Assemblyman Kim in advocating for funding for our state’s small businesses.”

The request is part of Kim’s larger effort to implement policies that would help mom-and-pop stores remain open and succeed.

According to the assemblyman, stringent state regulations and lack of government support has led to the departure of many small businesses and middle-class residents in recent years. Furthermore, despite touring with the message of helping the middle class, Kim said, Governor Cuomo “has not walked the walk.”

“Cuomo’s unilateral executive orders are costing dry cleaners and nail salons at least $230 million, bankrupting potentially hundreds of mom-and-pop shops who provide meaningful jobs to many immigrant families,” Kim said. “In his proposed budget, he has not mentioned any kind of support for the small business community. My colleagues in the Assembly and I are asking this governor to follow his father’s footsteps and restore funding to financially assist small businesses to comply with up-to-date environmental codes.”

Kim said he will spend the coming months fighting for the $50 million in funding in Albany during the new legislative session.

Photo provided by Assemblyman Kim's office

Photo provided by Assemblyman Kim’s office

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