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Queens Chronicle

Task force formed to ease up on small biz

Cutting fines is a key goal of city plan

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:30 am

Following through on a campaign pledge to ease the bureaucratic challenges faced by small businesses, Mayor de Blasio last Friday announced the creation of a task force designed to reduce their regulatory burden.

Called “Small Business First,” the initiative’s goals are to simplify regulations, help business owners complyt with them to reduce violations, focus enforcement more on education and flexibility and provide merchants with the resources they need to succeed, de Blasio said in announcing it.

A top goal is providing businesses owned by immigrants and people with low to moderate income, as well as those in the outer boroughs, with improved services.

The collaboration will comprise more than 10 city agencies, including the departments of Health, Consumer Affairs and Sanitation, which issue many of the violations, as well as Buildings and the FDNY.

Working with them will be the mayor’s offices of Small Business Services and Operations, which, de Blasio said, will then issue a report in the fall on how to achieve the initiative’s goals. Part of their job will be to get feedback from the public.

“Small Business First is about changing the way the City of New York interacts with small business owners,” de Blasio said in a prepared statement. “When a representative of the City walks through the door of a small business for the first time, we want the owner to see a partner.”

Included in the announcement were words of praise from a slew of officials as well as leaders of the chambers of commerce in each borough.

“‘Small Business First’ is going to make operating a business in New York City a lot easier,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Concentrating on training and education, rather than violations is sure to enhance the business climate and easing the process for resolving violations will save business owners time and money.”

The mayor’s fiscal 2015 budget plan foresees a small drop in revenue from fines on businesses.

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