Speaker Carl Heastie, Small Business Committee Chair Al Stirpe; Economic Development Committee Chair Harry Bronson; Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Chair Daniel O’Donnell; Children and Families Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi; and Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner today announced that the approved State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Budget includes Assembly Majority championed investments to help New York’s small businesses and arts and entertainment venues recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help get New Yorkers back to work.
“The Assembly Majority has been laser focused on recovering from this health emergency and the resulting economic crisis,” said Speaker Heastie. “My colleagues and I fought tirelessly to ensure that this budget includes investments that will allow our small businesses - including arts and entertainment venues - to reopen and recover, and to deliver families the child care that they need to get back into the workforce.”
Investments in Small Business
In March of 2020, New York went “on PAUSE” to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our small businesses were forced to close their doors, operate at limited capacity or find new ways to do business online, and many are still struggling to stay afloat. The enacted budget includes $800 million for a new COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant program that will be administered by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). The grants could be used to cover various business costs including payroll; rent or mortgage payments; payment of local property or school taxes, insurance; utilities; personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) or other machinery or equipment costs necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The grant program would give priority to microbusinesses, minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE), service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, as well as small businesses that did not qualify for federal assistance or did not receive sufficient federal assistance, as well as socially and economically disadvantaged business owners and businesses located in communities that were economically distressed prior to March 1, 2020, as determined by the most recent census data.
The Assembly Majority also fought to ensure the enacted budget includes funding for restaurants impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The budget includes $25 million for the NY Restaurant Resiliency Grant program as well as $35 million in tax credits for restaurants in areas impacted by enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.
Investments in the Arts
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating economic impact on our arts and entertainment industry. The enacted budget includes $40 million for a new Arts Recovery Grant program to assist with reopening efforts of various not for profit arts organizations and to provide financial support for the conversion of outdoor venue spaces. The budget also includes $43.1 million in total support for the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) operating budget and $1 million for arts stabilization grants. Also included in the approved spending plan is $100 million for a musical and theatrical production tax credit. Finally, $20 million in capital support is provided for the Arts and Cultural Facilities Improvement Program.
Investments in Child Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a significant blow to the child care sector, which has had a disproportionate impact on women and forced many out of the workforce. The enacted budget allocates $2.4 billion in federal aid to ensure local social services districts are able to fully fund subsidies provided to eligible families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level statewide, therefore expanding the availability of subsidies. The funding would also reimburse absences, ensure 12 month eligibility for families receiving subsidies, provide added funding for facilitated enrollment, invest in child care deserts, and provide scholarships for essential workers and grants for supplies and PPE to providers.
Investments in Labor
The approved spending plan also includes $50 million for the COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative to support initiatives to reengage those who have been disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
“This global pandemic has undoubtedly dealt a devastating blow to our economy, and especially our small businesses,” said Assemblymember Stirpe. “The critical investments the Assembly Majority fought to include in this budget will help our small businesses get back on their feet and get the wheels of our economy moving again.”
“No part of our economy went untouched by this global health crisis and the economic fallout that resulted,” said Assemblymember Bronson. “The road to recovery will not be easy, but the funding my colleagues and I fought for will help deliver our small businesses, farms, arts and entertainment venues and working families the help they need to get us solidly on the road to economic recovery.”
“Arts are essential to New York State,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “Arts and cultural institutions in every corner of our state entertain us, inspire us, and build community. Even more, a thriving arts sector creates jobs, promotes tourism, and drives economic growth. After a devastating year, the arts community now needs our help to rebuild. That is why I am so proud that our budget includes historic investments in the arts and cultural sectors to ensure that artists, venues, and workers have the support they need to restart the industry and keep New York strong.”
“Child care access has long been a problem for working families in New York, but this pandemic made the situation that much more dire,” said Assemblymember Hevesi. “Children, families and our economy suffer when parents are unable to secure the child care they need to get back into the workforce. This budget makes critical investments in child care by expanding eligibility for families via 10,000 new childcare slots, reducing copayments for parents, providing up front grants to stabilize all providers, including money to increase workers’ salaries and benefits, and funding new childcare providers in current childcare deserts. Thank you to Speaker Heastie and his incredible team for this monumental achievement.”
“The COVID-19 health crisis cost countless New Yorkers their jobs and has left many businesses struggling to stay afloat,” said Assemblymember Joyner. “The Assembly Majority fought tirelessly to make certain that these much needed investments were included in this budget to get New Yorkers back to work and help jump start our economy.”