For five years, NY-based communications firm Lawrence Blake Group has been helping socially conscious companies create philanthropy-driven public relations programs that help solve important global problems. Today, the young but focused firm is creating the structure to help 10,000 American small businesses discover the power of social responsibility.Read More
Overall, our survey results show that small business owners care about local public policy, and they are already involved or want to get involved in local politics. However, small business owners don't feel that it's easy to communicate with their local elected officials.Read More
By L. Blake Harvey, Founder, Lawrence Blake Group.
If you own a brick and mortar retail store in Manhattan, you're more than likely aware of the commercial-rent tax, and probably not a big fan. If you want to own a store, you’ve got to pay rent to your landlord. But in Manhattan from Chambers Street to 96th Street, you’ve got to pay tax on that rent - 3.9 percent. If your rent is $25,000 a month, you’ve got to pay nearly half of an extra month’s rent each year - $11,700 - to the city in tax.
New York City began implementing this tax in 1963, when more money was needed to pay for higher welfare benefits. The commercial-rent tax now brings in approximately 1.4 percent of the city's tax dollars. As retail store owners and office tenants continue to scramble to pay ever-increasing rents, the commercial-rent tax is a burden that small business owners no longer need. More so, small businesses in New York City are failing because they simply cannot keep up with rising costs. The money from this tax has soared from less than $500 million in 2000 to over $810 million today.
The good news? Manhattan City Council members Dan Garodnick and Helen Rosenthal have proposed a bill to eliminate the tax for businesses paying less than $500,000 in annual rent (the current cutoff is $250,000). Unlike with many of its taxes, the city can do this without state permission.
The most important part of this bill is that it provides an opportunity for our elected officials to follow through on their commitment to support local small Manhattan businesses, and a way for council members for the four boroughs no longer affected by this unjust tax to show solidarity and support their fellow New Yorkers.
Council members Garodnick and Rosenthal have rounded up 33 of their colleagues (most of the council) to support the bill. And in its budget negotiations with the mayor, the council as a whole has suggested this reform. So the hold-up is de Blasio. Unfortunately, Mayor de Blasio has yet to give a hint that he will sign this bill into law.
Here are four reasons why it's time for commercial-rent tax reform:
- Taxes should be based on profits. But rent is an expense that comes before profit. Is it ethical to tax an expense? This adding on of costs hurts all businesses who want to rent space in Manhattan, including offices.
- Retail workers are losing their jobs. As storefronts empty, retail workers are likely the first to feel the blow. New York’s retail industry grew from 287,400 jobs in 2006 to 351,900 jobs in 2015, fueled by tourism and a growing number of residents. But retailers have made big cuts in the past two years and employ just 343,500 workers.
- Ending the epidemic of vacant retail shops: If Mayor de Blasio were to sign this new bill, he’d help over 3,400 smaller firms (AKA small businesses, the backbone of our local economy) - and make the difference, in many cases, between staying open or not.
- The change wouldn't hurt our state or city budget: Even though this new bill would help 40 percent of small businesses, the city would only lose about 6 percent of the money it gets from this tax, as larger chain stores and corporate tenants would still be on the hook.
Its time to pass this legislation that will help keep our city alive with rich street culture, world-renowned dining, and passionate small businesses!
We believe that arming small business owners with tools to effectively communicate their needs and concerns within their community is what it will take to increase engagement between these businesses and the public policy that impacts them and their community most. This survey will help us understand how to better equip small businesses with tools and resources to become more involved in local public policy.Read More
Do you own an innovative new company that is less than 1 year old? We want to help you create and implement a socially conscious public relations program that brings your community together. This pro bono pilot program is a community service effort presented by hyperlocalRead More
Simply put, small businesses are the driving economic force behind most local communities. This means that local legislation and political decisions impacting your small business and the community you serve are important, and deserve your insight when applicable.Read More
In 7 days, this program will help you and your team understand the value you bring to the world, which causes and opportunities are most compatible, and how to develop a means by which to communicate your commitment to environmental stewardship to the world.Read More
Whenever you are starting out as a small business owner there are certain things that are a necessity for the survival of your business. In order to be productive there are several parts of your business that should be automated.Read More
It seems that everyone is shifting from cubicle-heavy spaces to open-office floor plans. Open offices fit in line with an image of a “trendy” office space, categorized by optimal lighting, branded decorations, and collaborative, invigorated employees.Read More
Most businesses have had experience with corporate sponsored events – either attending one or directly hosting one. Being able to bring an event or project idea to fruition with the financial assistance of other successful brands seems like a myth to most, but with hard work and a little preparation, you’d be surprised at the number of organizations who are eager to support projects of all calibers.Read More
Business owners, you are your biggest client. For every hour you dedicate to your paying clients, double should be allocated to your business’s branding, marketing, and advertising initiatives.Read More
Business and home offices use a significant amount of electricity for heating and cooling, lighting, and operating equipment. Here are a number of easy ways to protect the environment, fight climate change, and help make the air cleaner.Read More
As we continue to ride into 2017, this is the perfect time to consider your corporate social responsibility efforts. Are your efforts meeting industry trends? If not, how will you positively impact your local and global community?Read More
Being that we're fresh into 2017, our team has noticed a trend in the number of our clients looking to expand upon their marketing efforts - in small ways like allocating a stronger budget, or in larger ways like engaging into a corporate sponsor partnership with other organizations.Read More