New York City Council passes bill to help small businesses

The City Council on Thursday passed a bill aimed at reducing the Big Apple’s “bureaucratic maze” of regulations needed to open and operate a business.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilwoman Julie Menin (D-Upper East Side), passed unanimously in council. If signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams, the bill could streamline the city’s messy process that small businesses go through to obtain the proper permits and licenses.

“Companies say the New York City government is preventing them from running their business effectively by creating a bureaucratic maze of paperwork,” said Menin, a former restaurant owner.

The bill would create a “One Stop Shop” online portal allowing businesses to submit information on a single site instead of having to coordinate through several different agencies. The platform would also allow them to check the status of applications and approvals in one place.

The city’s Small Business Services is expected to create the new system by November 2023 if approved by Mayor Eric Adams.
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Currently, there are more than 5,000 rules and regulations and 200 business-related licenses and permits that businesses in the city – depending on the type of occupation – must check off to comply with the law.

For example, to open a hair salon, the applicant must go through 56 different steps involving 12 different in-person interactions before approval.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said regulatory reform was badly needed.

New York City Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie speaks during Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's presser on the restaurant's plight during the pandemic at Dirt Candy Restaurant .
Andrew Rigie says reform of the regulations required to open and operate a business is needed.
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“Running a restaurant in New York requires small business owners to navigate a large bureaucracy, an alphabetical soup of separate regulatory agencies such as DOH, DOB, DEP, FDNY and DCWP, each with their own permits, requirements and systems. “, he said in a statement.

“This overly complex regulatory maze creates confusion and red tape that leads to delays and uncertainty that cost small business owners time, money and headaches.”

Menin said the lengthy process should also be shortened as it further hampers entrepreneurs struggling to recover from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

“We haven’t done enough to support our small businesses and yet they are the backbone of our city – it’s so dysfunctional and we wonder why a third of our city’s small businesses have closed during the pandemic! We have learned in COVID that almost all interactions can be conducted online,” she said.

If approved by Adams, the city’s Small Business Services would be required to create the new system by November 2023.

New York Post

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