Small Business

Small businesses are the backbone of our community, bringing vitality to our neighborhoods. The public health and economic crises are hitting small businesses especially hard, as many have limited capital reserves and few options for obtaining financial resources beyond government assistance. To help meet their needs, my plan proposes credible solutions that will improve small businesses’ ability to weather the current crises, enhance their capability to rebound and thrive, and build their long-term resilience. In addition, my plan changes the culture of the city government’s approach – from compliance and enforcement to championing and empowering – small business.


  • Expand Small Business Supports. The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has a $37 million program available in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. I support an expansion of the program to ensure all small businesses have the resources needed to remain viable and anchor their respective communities.

  • Reduce red tape. Small business owners face numerous obstacles stemming from a complex bureaucracy, information that is hard to find, and even harder to use. Just as the SBS was created after 9/11, I support consolidating the “business” units of the Department of Consumer Affairs with SBS to alleviate the effects of the current crises through greater efficiency and ease of use.

  • Allow a “cure period” to address violations. While enforcing codes is meant to ensure the public’s safety and health, the City’s goal should be to remediate problems, not penalize businesses. Issuing fines immediately upon the discovery of violations is a punitive approach. Instead, businesses should be given a 30-day “cure period” to correct violations that do not pose an immediate hazard.

  • Permanently cap third-party delivery company fees. The Council temporarily capped the fees that restaurants pay services like Uber Eats and DoorDash at 15% for deliveries and 5% for non-delivery services until the end of the COVID crises. The Council also prohibited charging for telephone orders that did not result in a transaction. For small businesses to continue to recover and thrive, I support making these restrictions permanent.

  • Commercial Lease Restructuring. While the City collects property taxes, its authority to create new programs is under state law. I support a state proposal, the “COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Lease Act” (S.8904 of 2020), that authorizes a “recovery lease” program to help financially ailing small businesses. It would incentivize near-term lease restructuring by giving commercial landlords, facing their own financial hardships, a long-term property tax break.

  • Commercial Rent Control. The idea of Commercial Rent Control, which I support, has been discussed for over 30 years. Mayor De Blasio’s last State of the City address promised a “Blue Ribbon Commercial Rent Control Commission” to find ways to protect small businesses from egregious rent hikes while providing reasonable rents to landlords. One idea to consider, modeled on the NYC Rent Guidelines Board, which decides how much landlords may increase rent on residential apartments, creates a Commercial Rent Guidelines Board to oversee rents on retail stores of 10,000 square feet or less, offices of the same size, and manufacturing businesses of 25,000 square feet or less.