Today, the Partnership for New York City and the five borough Chambers of Commerce sent the following open letter to the New York State Legislature.
We write to urge you to resist raising taxes that will slow economic recovery and further damage New York’s small business owners and workers who have already suffered so much during the pandemic.
Advocates claim that their tax proposals will only impact the wealthy, Wall Street and big corporations, but this is just not true. The targets of “tax the rich” schemes include many local entrepreneurs as well as the clients and customers that small businesses depend on: patrons of our local restaurants, salons, florists and retail shops, employers of office workers, and business travelers who are outsized contributors to our local economy.
Since the COVID-19 state of emergency shutdown, small businesses have struggled to stay alive. Foot traffic in local business districts has declined by over 40% since March 2020. The ecosystem that supported our neighborhood commercial corridors has diminished. At the beginning of February, 47% of all small businesses in the city were closed, and for those still open, revenue had dropped 59%.
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, the eviction moratorium, outdoor dining, and government grant programs are helping at the margins, but the viability of the vast majority of small businesses depends on restoring a vibrant private sector marketplace. Assistance from state and local government is welcome, but it will never be enough to enable us to replace the jobs and revenue streams we have lost as a result of COVID-19.
Punitive taxes that encourage the relocation of people, companies and jobs to more affordable states will be the death knell for many of our surviving small businesses. We thank you for your support of the small business community and welcome the opportunity to collaborate on developing initiatives that will most successfully restore jobs and repair the damage that COVID-19 has caused our communities.
Linda Baran, President and CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Thomas Grech, President and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce
Randy Peers, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Sorin, President and CEO, Bronx Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Walker, President and CEO, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City