NYS Assembly Committee on
Small Business
2005 Legislative Update
Sheldon Silver, Speaker • Mark S. Weprin, Chair • November 2005

Assemblyman Mark S. Weprin
from the

Dear Friend,

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Small Business, I am pleased to provide an update on the Committee’s highlights from the 2005 legislative session. I know I speak for the members of the Committee when I say that we look forward to the forthcoming challenges and opportunities to enhance the small business community throughout New York State.

Thanks to the support of Speaker Sheldon Silver and the cooperation of my committee members and staff, the Small Business Committee enjoyed a busy and productive year. This newsletter highlights some of the significant legislation affecting small businesses that passed the Assembly. If you have any questions or are interested in any specific issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Member of Assembly

Small Business Day

Every year in March the Business Council of New York State sponsors Small Business Day for small businesses and chambers of commerce throughout the State. The agenda includes addresses by key legislative leaders, discussions on legislative issues of importance to the small business community, and opportunities for visiting small business proprietors to meet and lobby lawmakers and their key staff members.

In recognition of the contributions the small business community makes to the economic vitality of New York State as a major source of employment and the backbone of the economy in many New York communities, the Assembly traditionally passes a number of bills that promote small business growth. The following package of bills was approved by the Assembly:

Small Business Pollution – Prevention & Compliance
A.262 (Destito) would, through the Industrial Effectiveness Program, assist small businesses in pursuing pollution prevention funding opportunities and complying with federal and state environmental laws.

Small Business Clean Environment Compliance Fund
A.2657 (Destito) would establish the Small Business Clean Environment Fund to assist small businesses in obtaining loans from financial institutions for the acquisition of pollution control equipment to achieve pollution prevention and/or compliance with federal and state environmental laws.

Business Creation Assistance
A.3717 (Cook) would provide start-up and expansion funding for not-for-profit sponsors of small-scale food processing facilities to foster entrepreneurship, job development, and community revitalization. An additional goal is to improve local farm sustainability by providing an outlet for farmers to sell, or add value themselves, to their farm products.

2005-2006 Budget Summary

Assemblyman Mark Weprin served as a member of the Joint Budget Subcommittee on Economic Development, which agreed to the extension of the Empire Zone Program and the Small Business Tax Rate Cut as part of the budget.

The Assembly worked to ensure that the 2005-06 State Budget made key investments to help small businesses prosper, create and retain jobs, and increase economic opportunities for communities in need. The following is a list of significant programs funded within the budget:

Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) – these centers provide comprehensive assistance in starting a business and helping new businesses succeed ($1.3 million);

Jobs Now – provides funding for large-scale projects that will create new jobs ($32.1million);

Economic Development Fund – invests in projects that create or retain jobs ($32.2 million);

Urban and Community Development Program – provides State technical assistance and capital for the start-up of “micro-enterprise” businesses and provides funds for development in economically distressed communities ($3.5 million);

Minority and Women-Owned Businesses – makes capital available for local loan funds to start-up minority and women-owned businesses and provides funds for business development in economically distressed areas ($ 3.5 million);

Centers for Advanced Technology – work with New York companies on developing new technologies and products, and creating new businesses and high quality jobs throughout the state ($2.5 million);

Technology Development Organizations (TDO’s) – provide technical assistance to high-tech companies seeking to remain competitive ($1.5 million).

Public Hearings/Roundtables

Small business owners can provide valuable information for the formulation of public policy through discussions, hearings or roundtables. By holding these forums, the Small Business Committee can focus its energy on legislation that will benefit the State as a whole.

The Effectiveness of Article 15-A of the Executive Law – On February 23, 2005, the Committees on Governmental Operations, Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and Small Business, the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus, the Task Force on Women’s Issues, and the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force held a hearing in Utica, New York to determine whether minority and women-owned business enterprises are being provided with equal opportunities to contract with agencies of New York state government. The hearing was well attended by trade groups, business organizations and minority and women business owners who shared their experiences and suggestions on how the legislature can assist minority & women-owned businesses receive additional State contracts.

The Reauthorization of Article 15-A of the Executive Law – On March 3, 2005, the Committees on Governmental Operations, Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and Small Business, the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus, the Task Force on Women’s Issues, and the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force held a hearing in New York City to examine the implementation of Article 15-A by State agencies and authorities. Those in attendance at the hearing shared their experiences and suggestions on what modifications could be made to 15-A to assist in attracting and retaining minority and women-owned businesses as State contractors for goods and services.

Access to Surety Bonding on State Contracts for Small, Minority and Women-Owned Businesses – On April 14, 2005 the Committees on Governmental Operations, Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and Small Business, the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus, the Task Force on Women’s Issues, and the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force held a hearing in New York City to learn more about the extent to which statutory bonding requirements for State projects pose a barrier to small, minority and women-owned businesses seeking to obtain State contracts, and to examine the effectiveness of State bonding assistance and bond waiver programs.

Examination of the Procurement Stewardship Act and Procurement Issues – On September 27, 2005 the Committees on Governmental Operations, Local Government, Small Business, Environmental Conservation, Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, the Commission on Government Administration and the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Department of Environmental Conservation held a hearing to review the effectiveness of the Procurement Stewardship Act. In 1995, the Procurement Stewardship Act (State Finance Law, Article 11) was enacted in order to consolidate, codify and update the procurement laws of New York State. Recognizing that the law would need to be periodically reevaluated, the Legislature enacted an original sunset date of 2000 for the law. At that time it was renewed for an additional five years. This year, a one-year extender was enacted in the budget, providing additional time for a reevaluation of New York State’s procurement law. When the Stewardship Act was renewed in 2000, a number of significant changes were made to the State Finance Law. This hearing obtained information in order to review the impact of those changes.

2005 Legislative Initiatives

The Small Business Committee had a most productive legislative session. The Committee conducted five meetings and reported 16 bills, two of which were signed into law.

Business Creation Assistance
A.6704 (Weprin) would create the micro business outreach center assistance program and micro business outreach centers. In turn, these centers would not only serve as a vital resource to small businesses by facilitating access to the complex infrastructure of economic development programs and services, but would also connect small businesses to needed information, capital and technical assistance. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Come Home to New York
A.8506 (Weprin) would create the “Come Home to New York” program to encourage the return of native New Yorkers to the state through a network of local outlets and resources designed to assist New Yorkers in returning, relocating or starting a small business in New York. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Installment Payments
A.8429 (Koon) would require that installment payment plans be offered to small businesses for telephone service installation, initiation and nonrecurring maintenance charges. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Small Business Regulatory Reform
A.8634 (Weprin) requires the Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR) to examine the impact of proposed regulations on small businesses. This legislation has passed both houses and has been signed into law by the Governor (Chapter 637).

Enhance Small Business Access to Government
A.8633 (Weprin) helps to identify cost-effective ways to simplify access to State government for small businesses. This legislation passed both houses and was signed into law by the Governor (Chapter 283).

Small Business Innovation Research Program Enhancement
A.3443 (Schimminger) would clarify how funds are allocated within the NYS Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research so that the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program can assist small high technology companies compete for federal SBIR funds, which will help them grow and provide new jobs for New Yorkers. This bill was reported out of committee.

Expanding the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program
A.3209 (Schimminger) would allow qualifying businesses located in certain areas designated under the Federal Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (federal empowerment zones, enterprise communities & renewal communities) to be eligible for numerous loans at the most beneficial interest rate provided through the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program. This bill was reported out of committee.

A.4970 (Sweeney) would authorize credit unions to participate in the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program and raise the limit on the amount that may be on deposit at any given time. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Small Business Energy Loan Program
A.8352 (Weprin) seeks to encourage the adoption and installation of more efficient alternative energy technologies by small businesses. This measure would provide zero- and low-interest loans or loan interest rate reductions for energy improvement projects to stimulate the growth and development of small businesses and jobs. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Small Business Niche Market Assistance
A.6279 (Towns) would establish a competitive program within UDC to provide grants to a not-for-profit corporation or Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program with a demonstrated capacity to conduct market analysis and seek new markets for niche products for manufacturers. It would enable the grant recipients to work with and assist small manufacturers in identifying and developing niche markets. This bill was reported out of committee.

Environmental Compliance for Small Businesses
A.6332 (Christensen) would require the regional offices of the Department of Economic Development to offer information and assistance to small businesses on environmental compliance and pollution prevention and to provide technical and financial assistance to promote compliance with environmental standards. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Small Business Research & Development Assistance
A.6431 (Magnarelli) would provide grants to small businesses and research institutions to translate discoveries and inventions into commercially viable products in New York State. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Innovative Energy & Environmental Technology Development and Commercialization Grants
A.6758 (Cohen, A.) would provide, within available appropriations, capital grants for up to $100,000 to qualified small businesses to help develop and commercialize new energy and environmental technologies in New York State. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Pollution Compliance Assistance Fund
A.2657 (Destito) would establish the Small Business Clean Environment Fund to assist small businesses in obtaining loans from financial institutions for the acquisition of pollution-control equipment to achieve pollution-prevention and/or compliance with federal and state environmental laws. This bill has passed the Assembly.

Business Outreach Center Network
...helping entrepreneurs and organizations take the next step

The BOC Network delivers vital resources to small businesses at every stage of their development. BOC has a tremendous network of community and business contacts that serve as a source of market opportunities, capital and technical assistance. BOC leverages city, state, federal and private sector resources to benefit New York businesses and the NYS economy. Since its inception, BOC Network, with its local centers, has provided one-on-one technical assistance to more than 15,000 clients and helped small businesses access over $33 million dollars in loans and grants.

photo Assemblymember Mark Weprin meets with: Business Outreach Center (BOC) Director Nancy Carin; Assistant Director Mercedes Gomez (second from left); and BOC clients Thupten Tenphel & Lobsang Tsultrim (left), former employees and now new owners of East Village Cheese Shop in Manhattan, in the Assembly Chamber.

A wonderful New York story began when two former Tibetan Buddhist monks, who had come to the United States seeking political asylum, came to BOC with an exceptional opportunity to purchase the popular business where they worked. They had gained the trust and confidence of the owners as sincere and dedicated workers willing to make the commitment to learn what it takes to succeed in business. With the help of BOC, clients Thupten Tenphel and Lobsang Tsultrim gained financial management training, one-on-one credit counseling and assistance with the steps required to purchase a business. They took steps to build their credit history, and acquired the services of pro-bono lawyers specializing in corporate structures, taxes and commercial leasing. Equipped with relevant knowledge and professional assistance, they are making their dream of business ownership a reality. In April 2005, the NYS Assembly recognized their hard work and accomplishments. BOC will continue to be there as Thupten and Lobsang take the next step as new business owners, preserving East Village Cheese, founded over 20 years ago by Al and Carol Kaufman, a landmark business in the community with eleven employees.

Whether for a pre-start-up or a long-established enterprise, the BOC Network’s alliance of local Business Outreach Centers, or BOCs, can help. Based in neighborhoods throughout New York City, each BOC provides individualized, comprehensive guidance in obtaining financial, marketing, management, technology, and legal services. BOC Network programs and services are designed to help local businesses succeed in diverse immigrant and minority communities. BOC Capital Corp. CDFI Small-Business Loan Fund offers flexible, customized loans up to $25,000 as well as ongoing business development assistance.

Assemblyman Mark S. Weprin, Chair
Assembly Committee on Small Business
Room 626 LOB
Albany, NY 12248

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