Small Businesses, With Group, Seek Greater Say in New York City’s Policies
By KATE TAYLOR
Concerned about fines, taxes and regulation in New York, a new coalition of small-business owners is organizing to try to influence legislation and city policy.
Brought together under the aegis of the Partnership for New York City, a group better known for supporting the city’s major financial firms, the coalition, to be called GoBizNYC, will seek to amplify the voice of small businesses in the city’s political process, said Stu Loeser, the group’s spokesman and a former press secretary for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
The group, which will include the chambers of commerce for each borough, will push for the formation of a small-business caucus in the City Council and will seek to become a source for elected officials and candidates on small business concerns.
The formation of the group reflects a frustration among small-business owners that has become an issue in the mayoral campaign, where many candidates are pledging to address concerns about fines and regulation.
One coalition member, John Park, a Korean immigrant who runs a business selling medical uniforms in Jackson Heights, Queens, said the number of fines issued by the city in recent years had skyrocketed. He said that the city was still the best place in the world to open a small business, but that there needed to be more dialogue between small-business owners and the city.
“I’m not crying, I’m happy, but still we need a voice,” he said.
Another coalition member, Carol DiMarco, whose firm, Blue Label Design, is based on Staten Island, said the city’s policies had hurt more often than they helped. She said she was motivated to join the coalition because she had watched many small businesses in the borough close during the economic downturn, and then after Hurricane Sandy.
“I know a lot of my friends that are in the restaurant business have really been hit over the head with violations and little things,” she said.
Rosina Rubin, an owner of Attitude New York, a limousine service in Manhattan, said many small-business owners were concerned about a law passed recently by the Council that requires businesses over a certain size to provide paid sick leave. But she said she also had a more mundane concern: her drivers’ getting traffic tickets when they were trying to pick up or drop off passengers.