It has been said the small businesses are the backbone of our communities here in Queens, and I am certainly one to reiterate that sentiment. The small businesses, many of which I frequent myself – convenient stores, delis, restaurants and more – are what keep so many of our borough’s commercial corridors going.
Small Business Saturday, starting this year on Saturday, November 29, is a time to acknowledge the services our local stores have to offer. The every-day items we may not always take the time to note, the comfort you have in being a “regular” somewhere or simply just having a convenient place to shop – are certainly reasons to appreciate our local stores. Cross Bay Boulevard, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, Grand Avenue, Beach 116th Street and Beach 129th Street are just some of the corridors that see thousands of people every day. Where would we be without them?
Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the busiest shopping days of the year, and two days not necessarily reserved for local shops. We should take this day as a reminder to give back to the smaller stores that really allow us to live our day-to-day lives locally. While the holiday chaos can bring us towards larger department stores or big-name brands, we mustn’t forget the mom-and-pop stores that help us all year round.
Statistics show 23 million small businesses account for 54 percent of all sales nationwide, over 50 percent of jobs and nearly 70 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. In New York City, those numbers shouldn’t surprise us. Thanks to our corner stores, local supermarkets and more, we know the impact our small businesses have on our communities.
In Albany, we continue to fight for the rights of small storeowners, and this upcoming 2015 session should be no different. I have sponsored a variety of bills and supported budget items relating to local businesses, including some that establish a small business tax credit for the employment of seniors, of unemployed college graduates and of unemployed veterans. Another would provide grants to small business owners to rebuild storefronts severely damaged by Sandy.
In last year’s budget discussions, we were able to adopt several measures to help our local stores financially. The budget provided new, pro-business tax cuts, hiring tax credits, reduction of costs and red tape for businesses, workforce training for job openings, a Start-Up New York Tax Free program and more.
In reducing the red tape for storeowners, the budget modernized and simplified both unemployment insurance and workers compensation, and ultimately provides employers with $1.2 billion in savings without affecting workers’ benefits.
Whether at home in the district or in Albany, I will continue to keep the needs of the small business owners in mind. Something can always be done to promote their services and remind them they are vital to our community. This Small Business Saturday, I urge you to do the same. I hope you will join me in shopping at your favorite local store and show the owners the gratitude they deserve.