A boost for small businesses

Latino-owned small businesses contribute to New York City’s economy to the tune of more than $18 billion. But the growth and prosperity of these 143,000 small businesses strongly depend on the economic policies of the next mayor’s administration.

Our small businesses have expanded the market in our barrios, employ hundreds of thousands of local residents and have been a great source of tax revenue, both directly and indirectly, for the city.

While 383,712 small businesses closed shop between 1986 and 2011, Latino small businesses doubled throughout most of that time, increasing from 71,000 to 143,000, according to the Economic Census that’s conducted every five years.

The current administration and the City Council introduced initiatives to offer a more practical approach for small businesses. These were useful, but small business owners feel they’re continuously at the mercy of the Bloomberg administration.

A report by the Public Advocate’s office shows that since 2002, the city’s revenues from fining small businesses have doubled, totaling about $800 million per year.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Small Business Survival Index for the past two years has ranked New York 49th and 50th among all states as having some of the worst public policies for entrepreneurs.

To help small businesses, the next mayor should:

Review and regulate high quotas for penalties and how the city generates revenues through fines.

Take the needs of small businesses into account in all aspects of planning, not as an after-thought. This includes developing a comprehensive strategy for reaching businesses that strive to become mid-level.

Rigorously examine the tax exemptions received by the city’s large companies, like insurers. In the end, small businesses are the ones that fill this revenue vacuum. As a mayoral candidate, Comptroller John C. Liu proposed that one of the current tax breaks given to large corporations be transferred to small business owners. This idea makes a lot of sense.

From humble bodegas to sophisticated restaurants, Latino businesses keep neighborhoods thriving. The city should help them grow, not weigh them down.