Advocates Statements In Support Of Senate Majority Legislation To Help Small Businesses Build Back From COVID-19

In January 19, 2021

For Immediate Release: January 19, 2021
Contact: Gary Ginsburg | ginsburg@nysenate.gov | 518-455-2415

Advocates Statements In Support Of Senate Majority Legislation To Help Small Businesses Build Back From COVID-19

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “On behalf of the NYS AFL-CIO, I want to applaud the Senate Democratic Majority for including the needs of workers as part of the small business COVID recovery package.  The partial unemployment insurance benefit will allow claimants to be eligible for assistance without losing a disproportionate share of their normal benefits if they accept part-time work. I thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Jessica Ramos, the sponsor of the bill, for recognizing how critical it is to include help for workers when addressing the needs of small businesses.”

Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc., said, “We strongly support the Senate’s legislation to provide relief to employers, especially small businesses, from dramatic increases in unemployment insurance taxes for 2021. We also lend our support to Senate legislation that modernizes the state’s unemployment insurance program to eliminate financial disincentives for part-time work.  We believe this legislation will help workers, families and employers alike as we move toward economic recovery.  Many businesses in many sectors continue to face significant financial pressures from the COVID recession, and we look forward to working with the Senate on other critical relief and recovery legislation.”

32BJ President Kyle Bragg said, “We applaud the State Senate for passing reforms to provide meaningful access to unemployment insurance for partially unemployed workers. By updating the calculation of employment benefits, this reform helps partially unemployed workers meet their most basic needs and incentivizes more people to take part-time work. This is a welcome reform to support both working people and the New York economy through the pandemic and into recovery.”

Unshackle Upstate Spokesperson, Zach Sampson said, “We thank the members of the Senate Majority for advancing a freeze on the Unemployment Insurance Experience Rating. The last thing struggling employers need right now is to be hit with higher unemployment insurance costs. This bill will provide certainty and relief for tens of thousands of employers across New York during a critical time. We encourage leaders in the Senate and Assembly to advance additional pro-growth measures in the coming weeks.”

Make the Road New York Co-Executive Director Deborah Axt said, “We are thrilled to see the Senate acting to address one of the gravest problems with the state’s Unemployment Insurance system, which has been unjustly short-changing part-time workers. Right now, workers who get just a few hours or part-time work end up losing their entire Unemployment check, leaving them without the income to survive. Senator Ramos’s excellent bill will fix this problem. As that bill moves forward, we look forward to working with the Senate to solve another horrific problem with Unemployment Insurance – the exclusion of hundreds of thousands of workers from accessing any income relief whatsoever, just because of their immigration status or recent incarceration.”

Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA), said, “Over the past year, New York restaurants have been crushed by a pandemic that has threatened the survival of the entire industry. The legislation proposed today would provide much-needed relief where restaurants need it most — rent payments, fees and business relationships relating to delivery apps and other costs that are chipping away at any semblance of hope. The cries from small business owners across the state continue to echo the same message—relief is needed now. We applaud Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the sponsors of these bills and the State Senate for hearing those calls and stepping up and taking action.”

Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City said “The Senate has put forward a sensible package of initiatives that will help protect small businesses from further damage from COVID-19. The Partnership especially commends Senator Persaud for proposing to freeze unemployment insurance premiums and looks forward to working with Senator Kaplan on public-private initiatives to resolve back rent issues, now that her legislation provides the time for meaningful planning and intervention.”

Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said, “New York’s restaurant and nightlife industry has been devastated by COVID-19 and this legislative package offers protections to small businesses by further protecting them from evictions by no fault of their own, prohibiting unfair business practices by certain third-party companies that exploit restaurants, extending alcohol to-go which has been a critical revenue stream, and additional important policies. We thank Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and all the sponsors and supporters for passing this legislative package, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to enact policies to help save our vital restaurant and nightlife industry, which is teetering on the edge of survival.”

Scott Wexler, Executive Director of the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, said, “The Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association (ESRTA) is encouraged that the Senate is taking important actions to protect New York’s food and beverage establishments from unfair practices by third party delivery companies. Delivery service has become an integral source of revenue for the restaurant and tavern industry, and the exorbitant fees charged by third party delivery company need to be capped in order for the industry to remain profitable. Additionally, prohibiting these companies from advertising and delivering food from restaurants without an agreement in place is a common sense action. New York State government needs to take every action available to protect the restaurant industry. These bills are an important first step.”

Greg Biryla, NFIB’s Senior NY State Director said, “2020 has been a year of incredible uncertainty, anxiety, and economic distress for New York’s small businesses, the 4 million jobs they support, and the neighborhoods they sustain. While significant and unprecedented challenges remain, it’s encouraging that the Senate Majority is seeking to address these challenges at the very beginning of 2021’s legislative session. Every day we wait to protect against potentially catastrophic unemployment insurance tax increases or fail to provide meaningful assistance to industries hit hardest during COVID, we will continue to lose more of the small businesses that we love and that make our communities special. NFIB looks forward to working with Senate Democrats and Small Business Committee Chairwoman Anna Kaplan to advance and promote Main Street’s priorities.”

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Aquario said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many parts of our economy. If our restaurants fail, we lose a critical local economic driver and employer. Counties across the state recognize the importance of our restaurant industry, and we applaud Senator Kavanagh and his colleagues for making this a priority this session. Counties lost nearly $2 billion in sales tax revenue from the economic pause, and we need to do everything we can to ensure our restaurants and small businesses survive this pandemic and thrive in its recovery.”