Albert Baldeo Fights forഀ Small Businesses

“They Drive Our Localഀ Economies”

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 businesses.

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.

Albert Baldeo
Community Advocate and Attorney at Law
106-11 Liberty Avenue
Ozone Park, NY 11417
(718) 323-0791


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