Amid Devastating Impacts of Covid-19 Outbreak Assembly Minority Conference Proposes "Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020"

March 18, 2020

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I,Ref-Pulaski) and the Assembly Minority Conference today proposed the “Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020”, which would provide immediate assistance to small businesses and employees as they try to manage the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to take drastic measures that impact nearly every aspect of society,” Leader Barclay said. “Businesses have been required to limit their hours, restrict the number of customers and basically compromise their ability to meet their bottom lines. While precautionary measures are necessary, New York’s small businesses are taking a severe and immediate hit. The businesses and employees that are so vital to our communities and our state’s economy need our help, and they need it now. The “Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020” aims to provide that, and provide critical financial help at a time when the survival of many small businesses hangs in the balance.”

Small businesses make up nearly 99% of businesses in New York State, and employ approximately half the state’s workforce, amounting to approximately four million New Yorkers. The impacts of COVID-19 threaten not only public health, but will likely have long-term impacts on New York State’s economy.

As legislators and the governor’s office engage in negotiations for a 2020-2021 State Budget, it is incumbent of them to stabilize local and state economies, and offer fiscal relief and protections for small businesses and their employees. The “Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020” will:

  • Immediately direct the state’s settlement reserve fund of $890 million to small businesses;
  • Create a 0% interest loan program dedicated to helping small businesses meet their payroll commitments;
  • Re-purpose available tax credits to help the needs of the state’s existing small businesses;
  • Use all economic development discretionary funding for existing small businesses within New York State;
  • Move tax deadlines for remittance, business tax and personal income tax ahead 180 days;
  • Suspend all regulatory fees on small businesses for 180 days; and
  • Suspend the plastic bag ban for grocery stores for 180 days.

“Our collective efforts to socially distance ourselves from others are in the best interest of families, communities and the state. With each passing day, we cannot overstate its importance. However, we are astutely aware of the negative impact it is having on small businesses across New York – owners and employees alike,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square), Ranking Assembly Minority Member on the Committee on Ways and Means. “The success of small businesses has a critical impact on the state’s overall economic well-being. We are working to put a small business stimulus proposal together to help offset and mitigate the state’s shut-down of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues – just to name a few – and encourage our colleagues in both houses, regardless of political affiliation, to join us in supporting this segment of the state economy.”

Recent directives issued by the state Department of Health and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention severely restrict the day-to-day operations of small businesses. While necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, these measures may cause businesses to lay off employees or close their operations entirely.

“What we are experiencing on a day-to-day basis is, for the most part, unprecedented. Realizing many small businesses across the state have been required to close early, limit the number of patrons they are able to serve or even close, to help mitigate the pandemic’s further effects on the state’s economy, we must help these businesses and their employees now,” said Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats), Ranking Assembly Minority Member on the Committee on Economic Development. “The state’s small businesses employ approximately half of our workforce. To continue to let current events further erode the stability of the small business sector would be irresponsible, and has the potential to have long-term economic impacts. We ask our legislative colleagues to join us and come together to support the “Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020.” There is no time to wait.”