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Small Businesses

Support our Restaurants. New York City’s unique culinary offerings constitute one of the great assets of this City. The extraordinary range of dining options is one reason people come to the Big Apple from around the world and pay a premium to live and work here. The pandemic has decimated our restaurant industry, in part because of the arbitrary rules and costs that our leaders have imposed on restaurateurs. We simply cannot afford to leave our economy in an endless holding pattern. Our restaurants should be allowed to operate with reasonable and sensible precautions that allow this vital industry to operate while protecting the vulnerable.

Diversity in Retail. Small businesses in our historic neighborhoods are under assault. Our diverse population relies on these small businesses, and tourists choose to visit this phenomenal city to experience a diversity of retail offerings and historic sights. Unfortunately, our neighborhoods are now inundated with chain restaurants, chain drug stores, and chain clothing stores. If New York City becomes yet another carbon copy of the suburban Mall of America, we will lose our unique place among top destinations in the world to live, work, and visit.

Support Mid-Range Retail. Over the past decade, Manhattan has seen an influx of high-end retail stores, ranging from expensive clothing stores, high-end grocery stores, and wine bars. The problem with this trend is that more affordable, mid-range retail has been pushed out—leaving the middle class with fewer alternatives to purchase necessities for themselves and their families. As your Mayor, Aaron will work to implement policies and incentives that encourage landlords to offer retail space to mid-range retailers and corresponding incentives to assist these business owners in coping with regulations and costs associated with doing business.

Reform the Commercial Rent Tax. In all of New York City, the only businesses that are required to pay a commercial rent tax are those businesses south of 96th Street. Not only is this unfair, but this also discourages small, innovative retail businesses from investing in Manhattan. Large chain stores and banks have cost advantages and corporate backing which allow them to readily pay this additional tax, while small businesses often cannot. Consequently, vibrant retail corridors with innovative small businesses are moving from Manhattan to parts of Brooklyn and Queens. New York City’s burdensome and discriminatory commercial rent tax is overdue for significant reform.

Fill Empty Storefronts. Our City streetscape is littered with empty retail space with “For Lease” signs hanging in the windows. Unfortunately, there are incentives for landowners to leave retail space vacant in order to wait for the perfect, big corporate tenant even though small businesses are willing to immediately rent the space. I will fight for laws that give owners incentives to rent to small businesses and pop-up shops so that New York City remains a vibrant residential and business community.