Why did the new NYC Council Members eagerly rush to sponsor the most anti-jobs legislation in the Council’s history?
Are the new Council Members unaware of the destruction to their merchants and loss of jobs that they are promoting and will then be responsible for?
When it comes to supporting legislation to stabilize their local economy and protect jobs by stopping the closing of their local established businesses, every Council Member, CM, had a choice to make upon being sworn in Jan. 2022. That choice should have been a priority in order to begin long term planning and legislation to save and then restore their local economy. But first a CM had to address the ongoing unresolved “forgotten Crisis" that was forcing their businesses to close for over a decade prior to the virus crisis. Keep in mind that the virus crisis only greatly speeded up the business closings which were already taking place in record numbers in NYC for many years prior to the virus crisis. Record business closings on every main street were common when a commercial lease expired and the business owners had no rights or protection from the record sky high rents being demanded.
The clear choice for every CM was to either give business owners rights when their leases expired that would give them a fighting chance to negotiate fair lease terms or keep the status quo with only the landlord having all the rights. Regardless of the insincere political rhetoric of most CMs concerning the importance of small businesses to their community, the majority of new CM made the choice to sponsor the Commercial Rent Stabilization bill, CRS, that would keep the status quo with all the rights only in the hands of the landlords.
NYC’s commercial lease renewal process is a RIGHTS issue. It is the choice of who should have RIGHTS when a commercial lease expires: the tenant or landlord, or shared rights? The choice of who needed the rights to remain in business, protect their investment, protect jobs, promote growth and job creation potential and make a reasonable profit on their investment?
What Council Members, CMs, should have also been asking, but never did, was “what rights does a business owner need to maximize their profits and be better able to pay higher wages and create more jobs?” Every CM should have debated these vital questions in open honest hearings while representing only the voice for their merchants, workers and their citizens.
And only after extensive review, including hearing directly from the merchants, make the right choice on their merchant’s behalf. Also, on the behalf of the future stability and vitality of their local economy. The majority of new CM failed to be that progressive voice for justice and good government, and an honest voice for their desperate merchants and workers when they quickly (March 2022) sponsored the CRS bill. They abdicated their responsibility as representing the welfare of their merchants and workers to special interests and lobbies, an especially shameful act in a time of crisis and restoring stability. A more disgraceful act by empowering the very same “greed culture” real estate industry that caused our city’s small business crisis in the first place.
Would anyone have guessed that the first legislation sponsored by the majority of newly elected self proclaimed progressive City Council Members would be legislation written by the real estate lobby, the Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS. Also, that this first legislation’s real goal was to keep the status quo bill with the intent to deny any rights to their own business owners and workers when their leases expired. Most surprising was that so many self proclaimed progressive Council Members, would promote legislation that would result in more of their own businesses closing and more jobs being lost. In fact, the CRS is so blatantly biased in favoring only the landlords in the commercial lease renewal process that the bill will turn out to be the most anti-jobs bill in the City Council’s history.
On April 18, 2009 at a forum on “Crisis on Main Street,” the largest independent survey* of immigrant owned small businesses was released. Then Chairman of the Small Business Committee David Yassky responded to the shocking findings showing a growing small business crisis caused by sky high rents and growing property taxes. Yassky, “ that is what is at stake here, the small businesses that employ so many of our neighbors and friends, that is what is at stake here, those jobs will not be there. If we do not keep the small businesses we will not keep those jobs.” Yassky said, “Franklin Roosevelt when he was President said, try something if it doesn’t work try something else, but you have to try something. The one thing that we cannot do in the face of this crisis is nothing.”
Why is it so difficult for newly elected CMs to not understand this simple economic reality, “If we do not keep the small businesses we will not keep those jobs?”
What was so significant from his obvious common sense statement was that David Yassky was the first elected official in NYC that told the truth about the true dire state of our small businesses and their employees. He was also the first lawmaker to call for real action and immediate government intervention to stop the closures, save the jobs and end the crisis. That truth clearly shown by the survey was that our business owners faced a crisis when their leases expired and they had no rights to negotiate fair lease terms in the most hyper real estate speculative city in America. Another truth exposed from this study which Yassky highlighted was that workers' jobs and small business owners were in the same sinking boat.* A truth that still applies even more so today.
Why, after over a decade of a growing small business crisis, followed by a historic virus crisis, would the new City Council still keep the public in the dark of the true dire state of our small businesses?
A disgraceful truth that the City Council in collusion with the pro real estate SBS, EDC, BIDS, Chambers, Mayor’s and Speaker’s Offices, fake lobby loyal coalitions and shills has successfully covered up for over a decade, and still do today! A decade long conspiracy of collusion and rigging by a pro real estate lobby government with the goal to keep the status quo protecting the profits of the wealthy few. The newly elected CMs eagerly and willingly joined in this collusion when they sponsored the lobby’s CRS bill.
Reprehensible that our government, even in the face of a growing small business crisis, maintained a policy to “do absolutely nothing” to save even one business or job, when their leases expire. A disgraceful policy that the City Council still maintains today, and will continue if the CRS bill is passed.
A decade of a lobby orchestrated charade at City Hall to deny small business owners economic justice which resulted in our city’s “empty store blight". Yes, our city’s empty store blight was not caused by Amazon, changing times, over regulations or fines, but by the ambitious Democratic leadership giving total control of our economic policy to lobbies and power brokers who funded their campaigns. The CRS bill that the new Council Members rushed to sponsor is the outcome of this conspiracy and injustice destroying the “backbone of our local economy and job creators.” For over a decade in NYC, our small business owners and their employees’ futures were only “collateral damage” of a government promoted and protected real estate speculation frenzy.
USA Latin Chamber Survey (largest ever survey of immigrant owned businesses in NYC) * https://www.savenycjobs.com/latin-chamber-study
6. Have you been forced to lay-off workers, or currently have plans to? 69% Yes 31% No
7. Have you been forced to cut back some workers to part-time, or currently have plans to? 72% Yes 28% No
If yes, to either 6 or 7, Please select the most likely reason or reasons (please number in order of priority with 1 being the highest) Number one reason D. 73% high rents
9. Do you currently have plans to expand your number of employees? Yes 8% No 92%
If No, select the reason or reasons (please number in order of priority with 1 being the highest)
Number one answer f. 68% no protection for future rents/lease terms
17. From your experience with lease renewals, do you feel you have no rights during the lease renewal process? Yes 87% No 13% If Yes, Does this influence your business decisions to expand (yes 91% or no 9%) lay off workers ( yes 77% no 23% ) or close your business ( yes 93% no 7%)? Circle answers
Only in NYC, where campaign donors are rewarded by given total control of our city’s economic policy, would a survey need to be made to show that established mom and pop businesses could never compete with paying the insane rents that big banks and national chains were bidding to pay.
Chairman Yassky fulfilled his Committee’s oversight responsibly and held an emergency honest hearing in June 2009. It was clear from his opening statement that his Committee would find a real solution to stop the closings and end the small business crisis. Yassky, “I will say simply as an opening statement that I believe that we absolutely have to do something, period. It's not an option to do nothing. The mom and pop stores on the commercial strips in our neighborhoods are the heart of the neighborhood. We cannot allow them to be pushed to the point of disappearance, which is what is happening now. The one thing I just want to put right up front with the administration witnesses here is we have to have some solutions to offer.”
This hearing would be the last honest hearing given to our small business owners in the City Council. Even the new self proclaimed progressive City Council Members refused to hold a single honest hearing to find a real solution to stop the closings and give their own merchants a fighting chance to survive when their leases expired. Not one self proclaimed progressive CM even attempted to call for the beginning of holding a serious conversation to find the best legislation to stop the business closings and lay a foundation for recovery of the backbone of their economy.
Did no new Council Member not realize that there is no option to restore their small businesses without first resolving the “forgotten crisis” by giving the business owners the right to renew long term 10 year leases? Do the new Council Members have such a profound ignorance of small businesses that they do not know a business owner must make a reasonable profit for their hard work and sacrifices or they will close?
When an honest hearing was held by the City Council ( June 2009) the voice of small businesses was heard. Even with the real estate controlled SBS opposing any legislation regulating landlords or giving rights to business owners when their leases expired, as well as, refusing to admit the city’s businesses faced a crisis caused by high rents, the entire Committee members selected the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, as the only real lifeline to save the businesses and end their crisis. It was obvious from the survey results and the testimony from true small business advocates that the only way to stop the closings of businesses and save jobs was to give the business owners the right to renew long term leases, rights to equally negotiate fair lease terms that allowed a reasonable profit and an arbitration process to protect owners from rent gouging and being forced to pay their landlord’s growing property taxes.
The Jobs Survival Act’s unanimous sponsorship of the Committee members made 32 sponsors and easy passage in the full Council when voted on. When good government was allowed to work, the City Council was going to fulfill its mandated responsibility of oversight by passing a real solution to end our city’s small business crisis. Legislation that would give business owners the rights needed when their leases expired to protect their investment and to restore and save their American Dream.
A vote was never taken on the Jobs Survival Act after the real estate lobby high-jacked democracy at City Hall, and it still controls it today. The real estate lobby was successful in colluding with then Speaker Quinn’s Office in a scheme to cook up a bogus legal roadblock claiming vague meritless legal court challenges, which stopped a vote. This shameful stopping of good government and the NYC Council’s own democratic role triggered over a decade of the corruption of the Democratic leadership to serve and protect only the special interests and lobbies wealth.
A lobby orchestrated a conspiracy of corruption, collusion and rigging the system for over a decade to deny small business owners economic justice and a fighting chance to survive when their leases expired. A successful conspiracy that exists today in the new City Council. A new progressive Council in name only, where several members schemed with the lobby in promoting the Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS. A lobby inspired bill substituting for the Jobs Survival Act and keeping the status quo of protecting only the landlord’s rights and wealth in the commercial lease renewal process.
Yassky and his Committee “did the right thing” by sponsoring the Jobs Survival Act and making saving jobs a priority by saving small business owners. Yassky, “If we do not keep the small businesses we will not keep those jobs.”
Why would the new self proclaimed progressive Council Members willingly sponsor a status quo bill, CRS, knowing that it would cause even more local businesses to close and more jobs lost?
The outcome of doing nothing to address today’s “forgotten crisis” and keeping the status quo for the wealthy landlords was in plain sight to every Council Member. The conspiracy to stop any legislation giving rights to business owners produced a record NYC Court eviction warrants for businesses averaging 492 eviction warrants per month for 10 years! That translates into an estimated 3,936 jobs lost every month from businesses being evicted. An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 businesses voluntarily closed each month for over 10 years! That translates into an estimated 10,400 jobs lost each month in NYC. Insane rent increases forced record long established businesses to close in every neighborhood. The greed, unchecked and unregulated manipulated rental market resulted in our city’s “empty store blight.” When will the Council Members have the political will and courage to do something to save our businesses and jobs? NEVER, as long as lobbies and powerbrokers rule our elections and City Hall! * https://www.savenycjobs.com/nyc-court-evictions-
When will JOBS matter to Council Members?
Every Council Member has many times walked by empty storefronts where once thriving businesses were. Many empty stores on prime shopping strips were empty for some times years. What has been covered up by lobby loyal agencies and unethical lawmakers has been the loss of JOBS and the terrible impact upon worker’s families of our government allowing this unfair and destructive commercial lease renewal process favoring only the landlords and harming working families to remain unregulated. Every lawmaker is proud to proclaim they are fighting for affordable housing. What is affordable if you lose your job?
Nothing contributes more to an unstable family environment than the loss of jobs. And that goes double for job losses on the "backbone of the community" main-street. No legislation will seriously address crime in high joblessness neighborhoods or when the only pathway, our small businesses, for hard to employ is being destroyed.
Most progressive CMs proclaim they support workers gaining higher minimum wages. Then why do so many support the CRS bill that has the business owners paying their landlord's property taxes instead of paying their workers higher wages?
Are they so patently ignorant of the workings of small businesses that they do not realize small business owners cannot pay exorbitant rents, their landlord’s growing property taxes and increased wages and still make a reasonable profit to keep them in business?
What is the outcome for the jobs of working families after a decade of a conspiracy with special interests to rig the system to favor only the landlords and never the business owners and their workers? In 2021 the same survey (with a few added questions) of immigrant owners was taken to repeat the survey taken in 2009. The results show conclusively the outcome of immigrant small business owners and their workers being marginalized, disrespected and treated as second class expendable citizens by their own City Council. When it came to forming economic policy in NYC, the “backbone of our economy and job creators for resident New Yorkers,” our small business owners never had a real voice representing their well-being nor had any lawmakers fighting for their rights, justice and survival.
Compare the two immigrant owned business surveys!
2009 USA Latin Survey
2021 survey results on jobs:
5. Prior to Corona Virus had you been forced to lay-off workers? Yes 77% No 23%
6. Prior to Virus crisis had you been forced to cut hours of workers or cut back some workers to part-time?
Yes 84% No 16%_
If yes, to either 5 or 6, Please select the most likely reason or reasons (please number in order of priority with 1 being the highest 4 less) Read all before answering!!
78%__1_ Higher Rents & unreasonable lease terms.
71%__2_ Property Tax increases
12. From your experience with lease renewals, do you feel you have no rights during the lease renewal process? Yes 93%_ No _7%_
13. Do you feel without any rights for the tenants during the lease renewal process you cannot negotiate fair lease terms? Yes 91% No 9%____
14. Is the present length of your lease adequate for growth and job creation? Yes_14%__No 86%__ what is your present length of lease _2_years average.
15. What length of lease would give your business the best opportunity to grow and create jobs? _8_ YEARS.
18. Can you survive in business without government intervention to give you rights when your lease expires? Yes _17%__ No__83%____
19. Have you heard of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act giving owners 10 year leases and no property taxes? Yes __6%____ No___94%___
20. If our government passed the Jobs Survival Act would this motivate you to remain in business and look to a brighter future in business? Yes_87%__ No_13%____
21. Can you remain in business by continuing to pay your rent and landlord’s property taxes? Yes _18%__No__82%_____
22. Did you feel you faced a crisis to survive prior to the Coronavirus crisis?
If the new Council Members do not believe their own eyes, who do the new Council Members believe? Only their own merchants tell the truth: 69% faced a crisis prior to the virus crisis (just barely hanging on), 82% could not continue to pay high rent and their landlord’s growing property taxes and survive, or that 87% stating they would be motivated to remain in businesses if the Council passed the Jobs Survival Act giving them rights when their leases expired.
Or do CMs instead believe: the lobby shills like the BIDS’s property owner boards, Chamber’s fat cat real estate controlled boards, lobby campaign funded lawmakers and pro real estate SBS and EDC. All who testified to keep the status quo and openly opposed the Jobs Survival Act or any legislation giving rights to business owners when their leases expired. But none offer a real solution to save even one business owner or one job. All claiming to speak on behalf of the small business owners but all speaking only for special interests and themselves. None really caring about the welfare of a single business owner or worker.
Why are the new Council Members eagerly sponsoring the lobby created Council’s BIG LIE, that the CRS bill will save our small businesses and jobs? Knowing the truth that the CRS, not giving the merchants the right to renew their leases, will not save a single business or job unless the landlord wants to keep the business open. Knowing the truth that the CRS bill does not give the tenant the right to renew their lease and thus keeps all the power only in the hands of the landlord. Knowing the truth that without the right to renew their leases that illegal extortion of cash will continue against targeted immigrant owners, as well as cruel month to month/one year leases. Knowing under CRS, that the insane destructive rents that destroyed tens of thousands of good businesses will only go up each year and never down.
What true progressive would purposely support and promote legislation that would make a crisis worse for their own merchants and workers?
If the new Council Members were sincere in wanting to stop the closings of their businesses and save jobs they would want to learn what their business owners need to save jobs and create more jobs in the future. Learning this, they would realize the CRS bill will do the exact opposite by destroying jobs and job opportunities.
What do small business owners need to continue to be the city’s job creators for resident New Yorkers? Also, learn what rights mom and pop owners must have to continue to be the only pathway for hard to employ New Yorkers.
Why the CRS bill is a Jobs Killing Bill!
Profits- Even the most profitable long established business owner fears the commercial lease renewal process. They should fear it when they have no rights and only their landlord has all the rights and holds their future in their hands. For the past decade the root cause of long established businesses being forced to close is because the business owners cannot negotiate fair lease terms that allow them to make a reasonable profit. Those that remain open will only do so paying higher rents that result in less profit for the owners, laying off workers, raising prices or usually all three.
The present commercial lease renewal process is a job killer because only the landlord’s profits matter and the business owner cannot bargain in good faith to gain a reasonable profit. The problem in NYC is that the many years of hyper real estate speculation wrecked havoc upon the commercial rental market with big banks and chains paying grossly over inflated rents. This insane bidding by banks and chains for prime locations resulted in landlords not wanting any longer to make reasonable profits, but only demanding windfall profits. How many jobs does a wealthy landlord create compared to the jobs created by business owners? The commercial lease renewal process in NYC is ass backwards. The City Council should be promoting a commercial lease renewal process that maximizes the profits of the job creators and not the job destroyers.
Predictability- Every business owner who is planning to grow and expand must have some predictability of their future costs. Only from predicting their costs can they predict their profit potential, which will determine job creation potential. Two major costs of every business are rents and property taxes, which only the landlord decides under the present commercial lease renewal process. Therefore, not knowing fully the major costs makes growth a very risky proposal for NYC business owners. Adding to this risk is the length of lease which may be an even greater deterrent to business growth and thus job creating potential.
Under the CRS bill only the landlord determines the length of the lease renewal! Banks or lending agencies will not lend past the length of the commercial lease. The hyper real estate speculation has resulted in shorter length of leases citywide. The landlords have shortened leases in order to place themselves in the maximum position to gain the maximum profits. By doing so, it puts the tenant in the less likely position to grow and create jobs. For that matter even to survive. Short term leases are job killers.
Growth- Job creation only happens when successful established profitable businesses have confidence they will be more profitable in the future by expanding. The grossly unfair one sided commercial lease renewal process puts the brakes on business growth. Every time a businesses’ lease expires the owners fear their survival and few are thinking confidently about growth. How can they plan when they DO NOT have the right to even renew their leases? Under the CRS bill, no business owner has the right to renew their leases and thus must wait until their landlord decides all the lease terms or even if they remain in business. Under the CRS bill any landlord can issue a 30 day vacate notice to the business owner when their leases expire! The CRS bill keeps the status quo for the landlords which has been the most anti- growth commercial lease renewal process possible. With no growth potential, there will be no job creation potential.
Job Creation – NYC’s commercial lease renewal process, where the business owners have no rights, has been the most anti-jobs creation process in America. This destructive process has destroyed countless good paying jobs over the past decade. It has also killed most job growth and thus job creation for thousands of long established businesses. Business owners, willing and able to pay a reasonable rent, if having the rights to renew long term leases and equal rights to negotiate fair lease terms that allowed a reasonable profit would still be open and planning for growth. Instead, the new Council Members want to continue this terrible destruction process favoring only the landlord’s wealth while destroying good businesses and the potential for job creation in NYC for most business owners.
All of the tools needed by business owners for job retention and stimulating job creation are known but the new Council Members have chosen to reject giving them to the real job creators. Instead, they have kept these tools solely in the wrong hands of the landlords, the jobs destroyers.
What more do Council Members need to know about the years of destruction caused by the unfair commercial lease renewal process that has wreaked havoc to their own businesses and jobs? What more destruction of main street merchants by landlords lacking any empathy, compassion, or decency must Council Members see before they stand up on the side of their merchants? How can any new Council Member even begin to justify the rationale when vibrant established businesses, willing and able to pay a reasonable rent, have been forced to close and good paying jobs lost, only to remain empty for years?
Total inhumane insane economics in the extreme where everyone loses: business owners, their workers, customers and neighborhoods, just to make one landlord wealthier than they already are. This disgraceful continued destruction of jobs and job creation potential for our job creators is what the new Council Members are promoting in their CRS bill. Instead of giving the business owners the rights they need to survive and create more jobs. SHAME!