SBJSA gets new sponsor in Council

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

By Sabina Mollot

The Small Business Jobs and Survival Act is getting a new lease on life, or at least, a new sponsor.

Earlier this month, Steve Barrison, an advocate of the legislation and executive vice president of the Small Business Congress, explained that as of the new year, the bill was “dead” as it was without a prime sponsor. This is because its last sponsor, Annabel Palma, was term-limited out. However, last Thursday, the bill was reintroduced by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez of Upper Manhattan, although there was no hearing held. Rodriguez was previously the legislation’s secondary sponsor so becoming prime sponsor was, while not automatic, an expected move, a spokesperson for Rodriguez told us this week.

The rep, Stephanie Miliano, added that the Council member supports it due to the citywide problem of mom-and-pops being ousted by landlords hoping for higher-rent paying chains and banks. Abusive landlords were another reason. “We have to make sure tenants have some protections,” said Miliano.

“As the region with the highest number and concentration of small businesses, we have a responsibility to ensure they stay open,” said Rodriguez in an official statement. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and are major employers. They’re a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our city and our immigrant communities. The pizzerias, the bodegas, the hardware stores, the Jewish bakeries, the Indian restaurants, among many others have all shaped the character and culture of New York City that must be protected. I look forward to working with Speaker Corey Johnson and my colleagues to strengthen our small businesses.”

Kirsten Theodos, a spokesperson for the Take Back NYC coalition, which supports the SBJSA, cheered the news of a new sponsor.

“Small businesses rejoice that the same bill SBJSA was introduced and hope the bill will finally get a fair hearing and vote.”

Previously, Barrison said the bill’s supporters were concerned the long-stalled bill would somehow get watered down upon reintroduction.

David Eisenbach of Friends of the SBJSA was also relieved.

“This bill, which gives rights to commercial tenants in the lease negotiation process is the only real solution to solving the effects of High Rent Blight,” he said. “We look forward to working with Council Member Rodriguez, Speaker Corey Johnson and the rest of the City Council to make sure this historic legislation passes.”

According to Miliano, the next move for the bill is for it to be heard by the Committee on Small Businesses, but there is not yet a set date for that. Additionally, the chair of that committee, Mark Gjonaj hasn’t said he supports the bill. As a spokesperson for Gjonaj recently explained it, “And while he applauds the aim of SBJSA, in its current form, he does not believe that it will be the best vehicle to provide long-term relief to businesses struggling with rising costs, overly burdensome government regulations and unfair competition from corporate chains and internet retailers.”

Council Member Keith Powers has previously said he expects the SBJSA to get a hearing sometime this year.

The legislation, which has been around in some form or another for the past 30 years, has been blasted as unconstitutional by the Real Estate Board of New York. If passed, it would make arbitration mandatory in cases where landlords and commercial tenants can’t come to an agreement when it’s time for lease renewal with the goal being to get tenants in good standing an automatic 10-year lease renewal.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “SBJSA gets new sponsor in Council

  1. The statement from the New Chair of Small Business Committee says it all, .”he does not believe that it will be the best vehicle to provide long-term relief to businesses struggling with rising costs, overly burdensome government regulations and unfair competition from corporate chains and internet retailers.” Its a crisis for survival and this statement is a REBNY talking point for the last 8 years. Same with statement from new prime who was rejected twice to be co prime due to his discouraging owners to not fight for the bill. Rodriquez , “I look forward to working with Speaker Corey Johnson and my colleagues to strengthen our small businesses.” NO we needed a prime who would fight to SAVE our mom and pop , more REBNY talking points. The selection of the new Small Business Committee Chair , a real estate owner opposed to regulation of landlords , and new Prime sponsor , rejected twice for not supporting the bill should not be praised as several advocates have done. City Hall is famous for democratic Charades only to fail in the end to serve the will of the people.

  2. http://www.saveNYCjobs.org has it right. Beware. Without a right to a 10 year lease renewal at a fair rent to be arbitrated if the landlord and business owner cannot agree there will be no saving of the small businesses in NYC. The new Small Business committee chair a real estate guy, opposes any regulation of commercial and residential rent! He has said this publicly and therefore will not support the first bill in NYC to give commercial tenants a right to renew at a fair rent which is essential to save small business in NYC. Do you want more of the same and more diversion fake proposals or a solution? Truth matters>www.smallbusinesscongress.org

  3. Pingback: SBJSA advocates rally for hearing | Town & Village

  4. Pingback: Opinion: Request for study on SBJSA | Town & Village

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.