Commercial Rent Stabilization Bill is the Greatest Moral Failing of our City Council!
Will New Progressives Meet the Challenge to Stop a Lobby Created Bill to Keep the Status Quo Destroying the American Dream for Small Business Owners?
Soon the newly elected Council Members will face a real litmus test of their true progressive values. This litmus test will also expose the degree, if any, of influence over them by the power-brokers who control our government’s economic policy. Like the lobby influenced leadership of past administrations and the Council, the real question is: will progressive lawmakers follow and abdicate economic policy over their local businesses and jobs to the real estate lobby?
The litmus test for Council Members of who is a true progressive will be the support of, or rejection of, the Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS intro 93. Already the CRS bill has 20 sponsors, with the vast majority being the newly elected Council Members. It is understandable for new lawmakers to welcome, and rely upon, the experience and guidance of the established government agencies and their staff. Especially concerning economic policy, to rely upon the integrity of agencies mandated to serve the best interests of our city’s small businesses. But when it comes to the stability and future of each Council Member’s local business community and the jobs of their employees, it would be an immense mistake to trust these agencies and business organization’s sincerity and guidance.
The record of our government’s small business agencies, the custodian of creating a healthy business environment, will show conclusively that they have failed miserably to earn your trust.
To all New Council Members, it is a mistake to believe our city’s government agencies and business groups, like the BIDS and Chambers, speak on behalf of your small business owners. They never have sincerely represented small business owners best interests and they never will. For over a decade, all were a voice only for special interests, and especially for the real estate lobby. The city’s economic policy has centered around promoting a worldwide real estate environment for investment in NYC. A policy that has been hugely successful for a handful of the wealthy but destructive to the majority of the backbone of our local economy.
In order to protect and maximize the windfall profits made from the hyper real estate market frenzy, all of the city’s business agencies united to collude with the real estate lobby to rig the system to cover up the small business crisis created by the real estate industry. A crisis that existed prior to the virus crisis and unresolved, will exist after it. The grand conspiracy at City Hall, orchestrated by the real estate lobby to deny economic justice to our small business owners produced several bad outcomes for your mom and pop businesses, their employees and to your community.
A walk down any main street, prior to the virus crisis, exposed the most obvious outcome of the decade long collusion and rigging against small business owners. On every block were empty storefronts where once thriving businesses were. Popular long established successful businesses closing in every neighborhood when their leases expired, and they had no rights. Yet, the city’s business agencies and City Hall remained silent to the growing crisis, and did nothing for over a decade to find a solution to save even one business or job. Even more shameful was their role in preventing a vote on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act. The Jobs Survival Act is a real solution and the only honest lifeline to stop the closing of our businesses and save jobs by giving business owners rights when their leases expired. Rights to owners to renew long term 10 year leases, equal rights to negotiate fair lease terms that allowed a reasonable profit, and an arbitration process to protect owners from rent gouging and landlord abuses. A simple but fair to all real solution.
Who can the new progressive Council Members trust when it comes to finding the best economic legislation for their merchants and community? Trust only their own small business owners. The BIDS, Chambers, SBS, lobby influenced coalitions like United for Small Business, NYC, and self proclaimed so-called small business advocates like NYC Hospitality Alliance, all promote the real estate lobby’s false narrative and lobby created legislation like the CRS bill.
All have strongly opposed giving any business owner any rights when their leases expired.
To the NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS, the stakes for your merchant’s futures could not be any higher. The legislation you choose will decide if your merchants will have a fighting chance to survive, make a reasonable profit, grow and create jobs and have a future in your neighborhood. Seek only the truth and rely only upon your progressive values to “do the right thing” for your merchants, their workers, and your community.
The truth of the CRS bill, The BIG LIE, that the CRS bill will save your small businesses and jobs. It is "the BIG LIE" as is The BIG LIE of fraud in the last election.
The biggest truth is your merchants have for years faced an unresolved crisis and a challenge to survive every time their leases expired. The virus crisis only greatly speeded up what had been taking place for years and years in your neighborhood. For over a decade none of our city’s small business agencies would even admit a crisis existed for our small businesses in NYC. Only today, using the virus crisis as a cover, do they promote legislation (CRS) falsely claiming to address our businesses’ crisis. Open these two links* to videos of a rally at City Hall by the merchants, and from their statements you would guess they are talking about the virus crisis, you would be wrong.
Videos of rally to save small businesses
A survey of immigrant owned businesses in 2021* showed 61% were at risk of closing prior to the virus crisis!
Prior to the Coronavirus was your business at risk of closing (not due to retirement or health issues)?
Yes _61%_ No __8%_ Unsure___31%__
82% of the immigrant owned businesses could not remain in businesses continuing to pay high rents and the high property taxes of their landlords.
21. Can you remain in business by continuing to pay your rent and landlord’s property taxes? Yes _18%____ No__82%_____
The Truth: The CRS bill was created in 2019 by the real estate lobby with three goals. The first goal was to collude with Democratic leadership to rig the system to stop a pending vote on the Jobs Survival Act. After an October 22, 2018 hearing the Jobs Survival Act was to be amended to omit protection for Fortune 500 type companies and moved to a vote. With 28 sponsors, and no other valid criticism of the bill and no other solutions offered to stop the closings, the Jobs Survival Act would have easily passed. This simple pledged amendment should have involved changing only one paragraph of the scope language of the bill and taken 2 hours to finish. That pledged change never happened and instead showed up in the CRS bill in late 2019. A clear blatant anti democratic act, as well as, “in the open rigging” act in violation of Council Rules.
The second goal of the CRS bill was to stall. Stall any hearings or movement of legislation until Dec. 31, 2021, when all pending legislation dies. Never once after introducing the CRS bill and touting it as saving small businesses did the sponsors ask for a hearing. Why? Because they knew their bill could never stand up with the Jobs Survival Act as the best legislation to stop the closings, save our businesses and jobs, restore stability and end their crisis.
The third goal of CRS was to replace the Jobs Survival Act in the new Council. The lobby’s scheme was to wait until the last minutes of the termed Council to hold a hearing on their CRS bill and gain sponsors, the majority soon to leave the Council. In late Sept 2021 a sham hearing was held on the CRS, with no mention of the Jobs Survival Act bottled up in the same committee with 28 sponsors. In no democratic government in the nation would this disgraceful rigging be allowed to occur. The oldest legislation in the City Council , original Jobs Survival Act introduced June 1986 set waiting for three years with 28 sponsors on a simple 2 hour change, and a lobby created bill with the promised amendments and same intent Is substituted for it! Never once in the long 34 year battle over legislation regulating the commercial lease renewal process had two bills ever been in play at the same time.
The same cast of pro real estate lobby groups who came to the Oct 2018 hearing to oppose the Jobs Survival Act and stop a vote, attended this sham hearing to support the CRS bill. For over a decade the BIDS, Chambers, SBS and fake business coalitions remained silent on any legislation that would give rights to small business owners when their leases expired. Now at this lobby orchestrated hearing they all came claiming to speak for businesses and support the CRS bill. All knowing the CRS bill would be the death sentence to the Jobs Survival Act and the death sentence for the only real lifeline to save our businesses. Their collusion with the lobby showed clearly that none of our city’s business agencies feel any empathy for the dire plight of our desperate business owners. None of these lobby influenced and taxpayer funded groups feels that they have a moral obligation to try to at the very least save our business owner’s American Dream.
The Truth: When a commercial lease expires, the most critical and vital right a business owner must have to level the playing field for fair negotiations of lease terms is the “RIGHT TO RENEW LONG TERM LEASES.” Without this essential right the tenant has no rights and only the landlord will determine all the terms of a lease. Without this vital right the landlord will determine the future of every business owner in NYC. Also the landlords will determine the profitability potential of every business.
The CRS bill DOES NOT GIVE BUSINESS OWNERS THIS RIGHT TO RENEW THE LEASE!!
The proper name of the CRS bill :
Lobby’s Status Quo Act
Therefore, the lobby created CRS will in reality keep the status quo with the business owners at the mercy of their landlords every time their lease expires. .
The Truth: the CRS bill claims it will put a cap on rents and end rent gouging. The truth is CRS was written to keep 20 years of manipulated sky high rents in place and increased every year on top of these insane rent levels, rents that caused thousands of good businesses to close. Under the CRS bill, rents will never go down from their grossly inflated levels. The CRS bill is in fact a reward to greedy landlords!
The Truth: The CRS giving no right to renew the lease and with rents only going higher and the tenants also forced to pay their growing landlord’s property taxes, will result in more businesses closing and making the crisis much worse.
The Truth: Landlord abuses will continue under the CRS bill because the tenants have no rights. The immigrant survey showed 41% of immigrant businesses being extorted for cash by unscrupulous landlords threatening to throw out the businesses unless they pay up.
11. If Yes, did you give your landlord or his agent “cash” Yes 41%__ No 59%___
The hyper real estate speculation created shorter and shorter leases for business owners. In some cases even month to month or one year were given to long time owners. The CRS bill will assure shorter and shorter leases that will favor only the landlord’s position. Landlords waiting for deep pocket renters to replace small business owners.
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.
New Progressive Council Members DO NOT BE FOOLED!
Your choice of legislation will decide if you accept continuing the status quo for your small business owners when their leases expire and they have no rights. A status quo for over a decade in your neighborhood where out of control real estate speculation and greed produced a new NORM where your long established successful and popular businesses, willing and able to pay reasonable rents, were forced to close and remain empty. Workers lost their jobs and many times businesses remain empty for years, all because the landlords wanted only windfall profits. A disgraceful new Norm for any progressive person and for the vast majority of voters to accept.
The CRS bill keeps a status quo where only the profits of the landlord matters.
The truth of what the progressive Council Member will decide for their business owners, workers, and community.
If their business owners have the right to renew 10 year leases or if they have no right and their landlord will decide if they stay in business and how long their leases will be.
If their business owners pay their landlord’s property taxes or if the landlords pay their own taxes.
If their owners have equal rights to negotiate the new lease terms or if they have no say what so ever and only their landlord decides all the terms.
If their business owners are protected from illegal extortion of cash or if their landlords can continue to demand cash when a businesses’ lease expires.
If their business owners can roll back the rents by showing how high rents destroyed good neighborhood businesses, or if the rents will never go down but only up from the already insanely high destructive levels forcing good businesses to close.
If their business owners can have rights to predict their future costs and can thus plan to grow and create jobs or if only their landlords know what all the future costs will be.
If their business owners can negotiate fair leases that allow a reasonable profit or if the landlords make all the decisions on the lease terms to assure windfall profits.
That is what the lobby’s CRS bill is about: assuring the continuation of maximizing the landlord’s profits. Assuring the continuation of a one sided grossly unfair commercial lease renewal process that is destroying the backbone of our local economy.
Compare the two bills* and take the two comparisons to your merchants to ask them what they need to survive, make the most profit that allows for growth and more job creation.
The real estate lobby has taken their CRS bill to the landlords to show them how they still totally control the commercial lease renewal process and how it keeps the status quo for the landlord.
As a warning of the degree of collusion of the BIDS, Chambers, and SBS etc with the real estate lobby over the many years, you will discover that not ONE of your business owners has ever heard of the Jobs Survival Act!
Fact sheet on CRS
The CRS is appalling and insulting legislation against our hard working small business owners. It is also anti democracy and anti immigrant legislation due to its shameful creation was solely by collusion and rigging. It is an anti immigrant bill due to the majority of business owners being multi generational immigrant families who are treated as second class citizens, expendable by Democratic leadership. CRS is an affront to good government. If the CRS is passed, the dire plight of your business owners will worsen and lead to more empty stores and end up making an economic catastrophe for every main street in NYC. CRS is true BS and will be the end of our main street backbone in all of NYC!
The Small Business Congress authored the original Jobs Survival Act in 1986 and amended the bill seven times over the years. Always keeping the bill fair to honest landlords who respected their merchant's right to protect their investment and make a reasonable profit. We represent the voice of small business owners and will answer any questions you may have.