Assemblyman Mike Norris (R-C-I-Ref-Lockport) joined with members of the Assembly minority conference to announce their “Jump-Start New York” plan to help reboot the economy, particularly in small-town, upstate communities that have not been hit as hard by the novel coronavirus.
“There is no question that public health remains everyone’s top priority,” Norris said. “But we must also look at ways to phase back and rebuild our economy, particularly in our small, rural communities. For example, towns along Lake Ontario that have really been hit hard with lake flooding the past few years need a solid summer season. If there is a way for the state and federal governments to assist them, I want to make sure that happens – and that it happens now.”
Norris said the “Jump-Start New York” plan is a combination of state and federal measures that could be immediately enacted to provide relief to small businesses across the state. On the state level, they would like to see the following actions:
•Immediately reevaluate and add to nonessential businesses that could remain open while maintaining proper social distancing practices. For example, “big box” stores have been allowed to remain open, allowing customers to purchase items from multiple marketing aspects, while small specialty stores that offer similar products have been deemed nonessential. This gives preferential treatment to “big box” stores when local economies depend on the success of their small businesses as well.
•Certain state regulations made during this state of emergency should be extended or waived for an additional year to help bridge an economic rebound, including allowing the use of telehealth, allowing AV technology for notary services, allowing individuals and businesses to extend their licenses, and waiving earnings limitations for retired public retirees returning to work, among others.
•Suspend fees for occupational licenses for one year following the end of the emergency period.
Provide businesses and not-for-profits with recovery loans under Empire State Development to assist the 54% of the state’s workforce employed by 608,351 small businesses.
•Instead of generalized funding, repurpose Regional Economic Development Councils for disaster recovery. Additionally, any unallocated settlement money should be used here as well.
•Repurpose and utilize capital programs to jump-start the economy, including programs like state and municipal facilities, state special infrastructure, REDCs, NY Works Economic Development Fund, and START-UP NY benefits.
•Use any unallocated credits under the Film Tax Credit for business relief for nonessential businesses and sole proprietors that do not have access to unemployment benefits.
•Enact the "Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020" (A.10266).
•Increase rural internet accessibility to ensure equality in access to telehealth, remote learning and work-from-home capabilities.
•Delay Farm Worker Fair Labor Practices Act implementation for one year after the emergency period expires.
•Increase the CHIPS competitive bid threshold from $350,000 to $750,000 and increase competitive bid thresholds for municipalities and school districts for one year.
•Enact Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise reforms to require contractors to hire MWBEs at a rate that correlates with the percentage in their economic development region.
•Align all state tax filing dates with federal tax filing dates.
Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, “The health and safety of our communities remains paramount. While the brave medical professionals put their lives on the line daily to ensure this, we must develop strategies to combat the fiscal gloom facing our state, especially our small businesses. The ‘Jump-Start New York' initiative will increase financial security and help efforts in the recovery of businesses across the state.”