FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING THE CITY TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO CREATE A NEW EMPIRE ZONE IN CHINATOWN & LOWER EAST SIDE
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Law
“Before me today is Introductory Number 693, sponsored by Council Members Gerson, Brewer, Gennaro, Liu, Sanders, Weprin, Recchia, McMahon, Speaker Miller and Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum. This bill authorizes the City of New York to submit an application for a new Empire Zone in the Chinatown/Lower East Side area of Manhattan.
“A key component of the City’s economic development policy is to provide incentives that help attract and grow businesses in different areas of the City. The New York State Empire Zones Program is an effective economic development tool that accomplishes these goals.
“The Empire Zones Program is a targeted incentives program that benefits certain areas of the State facing long-term unemployment and economic disadvantage. The Program stimulates private investment, business development and job creation through a set of State tax credits and exemptions. These benefits – and all other tax credits and refunds that are part of the Program – are paid entirely by the State. That means this economic development incentive is enjoyed at virtually no cost to the City.
“Currently, New York City has ten Empire Zones. The aggregate benefits of the Program to the City are readily apparent. According to the most recent data made available through the Empire State Development Corporation, during calendar year 2003 alone, we can attribute over 9,000 new jobs and $360 million in private investment to the 1,301 businesses certified in the ten Empire Zones in the City.
“Earlier this year, the State legislature passed and the Governor signed into law, legislation that extended the Empire Zone program and identified 12 specific areas of New York State as eligible for Empire Zone designation. One of these is the Chinatown/Lower East Side area in Manhattan. To implement this designation, the Empire State Development Corporation has requested applications to be submitted.
“Chinatown and the Lower East Side are excellent candidates for zone designation for several reasons. First, zone businesses were severely impacted and continue to be affected by the events of September 11th. Second, the proposed Zone area exhibits chronic economic disadvantage -- a required criterion for zone designation. For example, we know that 15,000 workers were dislocated as a result of September 11th and 23% of the labor force in Chinatown alone was laid-off in the three months after September 11th. Finally, we have found broad support among community businesses, residents, and organizations. We have worked directly with the community on the development of the application.
“I would like to thank the Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Rob Walsh and his staff for their hard work in preparing this application. I would also like to thank the City Council for sheparding this bill through the legislative process.”
Edward Skyler / Paul Elliott (212) 788-2958
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