It’s never been easy to run a small business in New York City. The city’s entrepreneurs have long faced dizzying odds: high rents and high taxes, byzantine restrictions from City Hall and fierce competition from corporate big-box stores as well as the bodega next door.
And that was without the coronavirus pandemic.
The surest way to help these businesses survive right now is by giving them direct federal aid and access to inexpensive capital.
New York, like most state and local governments, doesn’t have those kinds of funds. But the city can step up now to help small businesses cut through onerous red tape to gain access to roughly $134 billion in untapped federal stimulus money. Ideally, that effort would begin with businesses owned by minorities, immigrants and women, which are already at a disadvantage in securing investment and are likelier to serve communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Comptroller Scott Stringer’s August report on small business recovery is filled with good ideas, like simplifying licensing requirements for such businesses by allowing owners to file paperwork with a single point of contact and making it easier to obtain liquor licenses. Mr. Stringer and others have encouraged the city to help small businesses establish an online presence to compete with large retailers like Amazon.