Although the city’s economy has recovered since the months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, an estimated 230,000 New Yorkers are unemployed. African-American and Latino males have a particularly difficult time finding a job; 40 percent are unemployed.
The Democratic candidates are focusing most of the attention on small businesses. Small businesses account for 50 percent of all New York City private-sector jobs and generate $4.5 billion in annual city tax revenues.
To help small businesses, Fernando Ferrer proposes a three-month amnesty program to give small businesses the opportunity to pay outstanding fines. He plans to provide real estate assistance, micro-loans, and new programs for women and minority-owned businesses.
He also plans to form a small business advisory council that reports to the mayor, deputy mayor for economic development, and commissioner of the small business department. The panel would make recommendations and proposes policy.
C. Virginia Fields promises to use the city’s $18.8 billion in annual spending to help small businesses grow. She proposes giving a specific percentage of city contracts to small businesses. She also wants to provide loans and provide training in entrepreneurship.
Fields also wants to grow the biotechnology industry, offering tax incentives for new companies to do research in the city.
Gifford Miller points to his efforts as Speaker of the City Council in creating job training programs, workforce protections, and the “Living Wage” bill, which requires certain city contractors to pay their employees $8.10 an hour, rising to $10.00 per hour by July 2006.
Miller promises to cut taxes for small businesses and expand tax credits for industries in the outer boroughs. He says that the foundations of economic growth are “great neighborhood schools, reliable transportation, and flourishing small businesses.”
Anthony Weiner wants to reduce tickets and fines for small businesses. He also wants to create an ombudsman position at the Department of Business Services to help small business owners.
He would create a $10 million micro-loans program, which gives low interest loans of $100,000 to $200,000 to emerging businesses.
Weiner also promises to increase subsidies for businesses outside of Manhattan. He would require that at least 25 percent of all Economic Development Commission funds be distributed to the boroughs on an equitable basis, by jobs per borough, or population.
He also wants to create a “ShopNYC.com” Web site to help small businesses sell their goods on the Internet.
Michael Bloomberg says he has created 62,000 jobs since July 2003.
He has given tax credits to large corporations like Time Warner, Hearst, the New York Times, and Goldman Sachs to encourage them to build new headquarters in Manhattan.
Bloomberg believes tourism â€“ which is at record levels â€“ is a main engine for job growth.
He has undertaken development projects in Brooklyn, Queens, and Harlem to spur new construction and job growth.
To help small businesses, he opened satellite small business services in each of the five boroughs that offer assistance to owners.