Albert Baldeo Fights
“They Drive Our Localഀ
A survey conducted by Congress member Anthony Weiner
of 10 popular shopping hot-spots in Queens has revealed that an average
of 12 percent of all storefronts is either closed or closing. Small
businesses are the backbone of New York City’s economy, and they
have borne the brunt of our nation’s recent downturn. As a matter
of economic and national policy, helping small business owners get back
on their feet should be a high priority.
This plan should complement efforts to save homeowners
from foreclosures. Apart
from the safety, environmental and unsightliness shuttered businesses
and foreclosed homes cause, each reflects a painful horror story of
blood, sweat and tears gone awash in the pursuit of the American Dream.
We have to encourage small business owners to remain in New York,
because they are the engines that drive our local economy.
Recently, after surveying shopping strips in Rockaway,
Rego Park, Flushing, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Forest Hills, Jamaica,
Sunnyside, Astoria, Glendale, Bayside and other areas, Congressman
Weiner’s study shows that Richmond Hill had the highest vacancy
rate, at 20 percent; Flushing had the lowest at 7 percent; and a total
of 206 storefronts were closed, averaging 20 closed stores per shopping
strip. One stretch of stores on Jamaica Avenue revealed 73 vacant
storefronts, more than one in every five stores.
To help small business owners that may be struggling,
Weiner laid out a five-point plan, some of which have been put in
motion by Congress. These include tax breaks for small businesses that
offer health insurance and hire unemployed workers, greater access to
small business loans, longer grace period for parking shoppers and
permit and adjudication vans that would bring city agencies to the
The lifeblood of our local economies here in Queens
and Brooklyn is our small businesses, not the skyscrapers of Wall
Street. Congressman Weiner is right. We must throw them a lifeline.
Community Advocate and Attorney at Law
106-11 Liberty Avenue
Ozone Park, NY 11417