NEW YORK – The Center for Urban Future (CUF) spoke with small business owners in New York to get their comments and recommendations for how the state and federal government can help them through the coronavirus pandemic and the economic issues facing them at this time. Among the business owners, Greek-American Euripides Pelekanos, Founder and CEO Bareburger, offered his comments and insights, included below, as reported by CUF:
“Cap third-party delivery commissions
“Number one, something has to be done about third-party delivery companies and their commissions. We pay anywhere from 12 to 20 percent on all delivery orders. For the next three months or so, they should put a cap on their commissions. Maybe 7 percent.
“Issue moratorium on evictions
“We need a moratorium on any eviction proceeding. I’ve been asking my landlords to give me a three- to four-month deferment on my lease obligation and instead add at the end of my lease. I know my landlord has to pay their mortgage, so I’m also asking my landlords to dip into my security deposit so they can do so. It’d be helpful to get some sort of citywide policy on this.
“Defer payroll taxes
“I would love to have some sort of payroll tax deferment. Right now, I pay a tax on about 10 percent of the weekly payroll, but any dollars we can hold onto would be fantastic. Maybe we can hold onto that for now and work out a payment plan later. A sales tax deferment would also be fantastic.
“Ensure FEMA buys local
“FEMA is going to come into New York fairly soon to help manage the recovery. The FEMA workers and other first responders are going to get food stipends to go eat every day. FEMA should support local businesses, rather than get food contracts with massive food services companies.
“Mandate insurers pay out on business interruption claims
“The federal government should back up insurance companies. It’s the absolute fastest way to get money into the hands of companies that need it. It’s not clear that insurance companies will pay restaurants and other companies who file business interruption claims. A pandemic is not considered an act of God, which is a provision we have, but these are extraordinary times. Or the insurance companies may fight us and drag their feet before paying out, but the long delay would be terrible for us. If there was a federal mandate, they could release funds in seven to ten days.”
According to its website, Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is an independent, nonprofit think tank that generates innovative policies to create jobs, reduce inequality and help lower income New Yorkers climb into the middle class. For 20 years, CUF has published accessible, data-driven reports on ways to grow and diversify the economy and expand opportunity that are anchored in rigorous research, not preconceived notions about outcome. Their work has been a powerful catalyst for policy change in New York City and serves as an invaluable resource for government officials, community groups, nonprofit practitioners and business leaders as they advocate for and implement policies to address some of New York’s biggest challenges and opportunities.
More information is available online: https://nycfuture.org/research/supporting-small-business-through-coronavirus.