These days it’s impossible to have a conversation about small businesses without lapsing into how a heady, toxic mix of landlord greed, government fees and online shopping are slowly but surely destroying them all.
The biggest game changer we can think of, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, is still very much in limbo. However, there are fortunately some lawmakers coming up with some other ideas in the meantime aimed at giving mom-and-pops a break. While not as far-reaching as the SBJSA, we do believe a few will help and they certainly seem to have more of a chance of getting passed in a timely fashion.
A new bill by Council Member Mark Levine of Upper Manhattan would help business owners fight evictions by guaranteeing them the right to counsel, as those facing criminal charges get when they’re poor, and poor tenants facing evictions from their homes get, too.
The legislation that provides attorneys to residential tenants has already helped slow the tide of not only evictions, but eviction proceedings themselves, and the new bill, too, we believe, would go a long way in helping commercial tenants fight off meritless cases and remain in place.
Local City Council Members Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera are already two of four co-sponsors on this bill, introduced this week. The next step, then, is to gather more support for its passing within the City Council and the mayor’s office. The reason for the urgency in doing so should be obvious to anyone, and that’s that this once vibrant city is already far too over-run with banks, chain stores and empty spaces where unique shops once stood.
Seriously, no elected official or city representative should even try the line about needing to do a study first because just look around. Take a good look around on any random block and then pass this bill.