Monday, July 19, 2010

Rep Weiner Unveils New Study Showing Vacancy Rates For Queens Business Strips Over 12%

Outside of a shuttered storefront on Jamaica Avenue, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D – Queens and Brooklyn) State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and Assemblyman Michael Miller announced the results of survey showing that some of Queens’ busiest shopping streets are suffering from an average 12% vacancy rate, with 1 in 5 stores closed along a busy stretch of Jamaica Avenue.

Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D – Brooklyn & Queens), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, unveiled a survey of 10 of Queens’ busiest shopping streets showing an average vacancy rate of 12%, with up to 1 in 5 stores closed on one busy stretch of Jamaica Avenue.

Rep. Weiner’s office surveyed Queens neighborhood shopping strips in Rockaway, Rego Park, Flushing, Richmond Hill, Forest Hills, Jamaica, Sunnyside, Astoria, Glendale and Bayside. Throughout the Borough, an average of 12% of all storefronts were closed or closing, with 1 in every 5 stores vacant at shopping strips in Richmond Hill and Rego Park.

Highlights from Weiner’s Study:

  • Richmond Hill has the highest vacancy rate of 20%
  • The neighborhood of Flushing had the lowest vacancy rate at 7%
  • Sunnyside and Glendale shopping strips were also among the lowest vacancy rates – at 8%
  • A total of 206 storefronts were closed, averaging 20 closed stores per shopping strip
  • Jamaica Avenue had 73 vacant storefronts – more than 1 in every 5 stores
  • Only 4 of the neighborhoods – Flushing, Forest Hills, Sunnyside and Glendale – had business strips with vacancy rates below 10%

Small businesses are the backbone of New York City’s economy, and they have borne the brunt of our nation’s recent downturn,” Weiner said. “Helping small business owners get back on their feet should be our number one priority.”

Weiner’s 5 Point Plan:

Rep. Weiner is proposing the following 5-point plan to help:

Tax breaks for small business offering health insurance

The recent Affordable Care Act includes $40 billion in tax credits for small businesses to help them offer employee coverage. The bill provides tax credits starting in 2010 to small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 that purchase health insurance for employees. It is estimated that 60% of American’s businesses will qualify for these small business tax credits under the bill.

Tax break for new hires

Congress recently passed the $15 billion HIRE Act to spur job creation. The new payroll tax exemption included in the bill would create a common-sense, targeted, and effective way to encourage employers to begin hiring unemployed workers. According to Mark Zandi of Moody’s, it is estimated to spur about 300,000 new jobs. The payroll tax exemption provides businesses with an exemption from Social Security payroll taxes for every worker hired in 2010 who has been unemployed for at least 60 days. The bill would also provide an additional $1,000 income tax credit for every new employee retained for 52 weeks.

Greater access to capital small business loans

The House recently passed the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act to provide banks with the opportunity to make more loans to small businesses. The legislation created a new $30 billion lending fund for small and medium sized community banks to leverage up to $300 billion in lending. Rep. Weiner is calling on the Senate to pass this bill.

Grace Period for Late Parkers
Consumers must have access to small businesses in order for the stores to succeed. A grace period for late parkers allows middle-class New Yorkers, who are generally doing 4 things at once, to shop in local businesses without leaving the store halfway finished, and the store owners halfway compensated for the products they provide. The extra five minutes in a parking spot without feeding the meter are worth keeping our local businesses open and thriving.

Mobile Permit and Adjudication Vans
Business owners too often need to drive out to the far reaches of their city borough to wait in line for hours and deal with local bureaucratic agencies in hopes of solving their permit and violations issues. The City should be locally available with mobile permit and violation adjudication vans so that business owners needn't waste a day's time and effort in wrestling with these agencies.

Click on image to enlarge...