FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SPEAKER QUINN ANNOUNCE 14 MEASURES TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO INFLUENCE AND COMPLY WITH CITY REGULATIONS
New Initiatives Include a Business Owner's Bill of Rights, Steps to Help Businesses Avoid Automatic Fines and In-Person Hearings and Other Customer Service-Oriented Actions
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Christine C. Quinn today announced 14 measures to make it easier for the City’s 220,000 small businesses to influence and comply with the City rules governing them. The 14 measures are the result of the work of the Regulatory Review Panel, a joint effort by the Mayor and City Council to scrutinize City regulations and how they are developed and make recommendations to recast them, eliminate unnecessary obstacles that hinder business growth, and enhance public participation in rulemaking. The new initiatives include establishing a Business Owner’s Bill of Rights, helping businesses avoid automatic fines if they quickly cure a low-risk violation, and making it possible for businesses to settle or contest violations without appearing in person. The Mayor and Speaker were joined at the announcement by Counselor to the Mayor and Regulatory Review Panel Chair Anthony Crowell, Council Minority Leader James Oddo, Council Deputy Majority Leader Leroy G. Comrie, Jr., Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement Director Shari Hyman, Administrative Justice Coordinator David Goldin, and Richard and Victoria Aviles, co-owners of Bridge Cleaners, which hosted the announcement at its cleaning facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“Every city has the responsibility to make sure businesses operate safely and appropriately, but that doesn’t have to mean business owners should need to spend a lot of money on consultants, decipher confusing legal jargon, or take off work to settle or contest violations that can be handled online,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “To make sure businesses in New York City don’t have to, we’ve identified a set of actions that will make it easier for all businesses to know what the rules are and how to comply with them. As importantly, business owners should have a say in what the regulations are in the first place, so we’re also making it easier for them to be a part of the rulemaking process. Enacting and enforcing sensible regulations is a necessity, but we’re committed to making sure it’s done in a way that embraces local businesses as valued customers of the City.”
“We are moving away from an enforcement-driven inspection process to one that is much more customer-service oriented,” said Speaker Quinn. “Today’s announcement is an important first step toward innovative enforcement as we look to work with small businesses not against them. With these new reforms in small business regulations, I am confident that we will make the City a more tempting place for entrepreneurs to thrive and prosper. Making life easier for our small business owners is the key to building a diverse and thriving economy.”
“This is the single most significant reform process in over a generation,” said Robert Bookman, Counsel to the New York Nightlife Association, the NYC Chapters of the State Restaurant Association and the New York City Newsstand Operators Association. “The small business community welcomes the next phase where we hope to see real changes adopted which will help our struggling small businesses.”
In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn announced the formation of the Regulatory Review Panel to modernize the rulemaking process with particular attention on enhancing public participation and identifying and fixing systemic problems with existing rules and rule implementation. The Panel received input from well over 200 small business owners, industry representatives and other stakeholders through outreach sessions with business owners in all five boroughs, meetings with various industry and civic groups, and written comments from the general public.
The 14 measures will:
“The Regulatory Review Panel set out to accomplish two things: modernize the rulemaking process with a focus on enhancing public participation, and identify systemic problems with agency rules and come up with recommendations that address them,” said Counselor to the Mayor Anthony Crowell, who Chairs the Regulatory Review Panel. “These 14 measures comprise a major evolution in the regulatory environment small businesses operate.”
“Today we continue moving beyond simply talking about helping small businesses to taking real steps to offer them much needed assistance,” said Council Minority Leader Oddo. “We need to help, lead, and get out of their way to allow them to survive, grow, and diversify New York City's economy. This is a genuine step in that direction.”
“I would like to thank Speaker Quinn for the opportunity to serve on the Regulatory Review Panel,” said Council Deputy Majority Leader Comrie. “This panel represents a new beginning of listening to our small business community to ensure that we as legislators do all that we can to support then during this time of economic hardship. As the former chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee, I firmly believe that the release of this report is an example of government listening to their constituents and establishing sound guidelines, regulations, and principles to ensure small business owners can focus less on red tape and more on improving revenues. As the Chair of the Queens Delegation, it was especially important that we highlight the need for city agencies to be more accessible on a borough basis. This report emphasizes the need for borough-liaisons so business owners do not have to travel long-distances and potentially close their shop for an entire day to visit a New York City agency.”
Local Law 45 of 2009 established the Regulatory Review Panel in July 2009. Its members are: Counselor to the Mayor and Panel Chair Anthony Crowell, Council Members Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. and James Oddo, former Council Member David Yassky, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, Mayor’s Office of Operations Director Jeff Kay, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mark Page, Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, and Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement Director Shari Hyman.
The Regulatory Review Panel will continue to work with agencies and the City Council to implement the new measures. It will also share its findings and recommendations with other City entities working to enhance customer service for businesses. These entities include: the New Business Acceleration Team, a new division within the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement that is charged with helping small businesses open more quickly by expediting the required permits, licenses and inspections; and the Mayor’s Office of Operations, which Mayor Bloomberg tasked with simplifying the way New Yorkers, including small business owners, access City government.
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (Mayor) (212) 788-2958
Jamie McShane / Kim Thai (Council) (212) 788-7116
Download the report (in PDF)