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Hochul seeks to help small biz with billion-dollar rescue plan

By Eric Reinhardt (


Gov. Kathy Hochul on Jan. 5 delivered the annual State of the State address in Albany. (PHOTO CREDIT: GOV. KATHY HOCHUL FLICKR)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed a billion-dollar state rescue plan for New York small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

Hochul announced the proposal during the Jan. 5 State of the State address in Albany. 

Additionally, Hochul plans to introduce a bill to permanently allow the sale of to-go drinks for bars and restaurants statewide. Hochul’s office noting it’s an industry “that has especially been hit hard by COVID-19.”

Besides the sale of to-go drinks, the proposal also includes a small business COVID capital-investment tax credit, funding for small businesses of the future, seed funding, a small-business lending initiative, and the Excelsior contracting-opportunities initiative.

Hochul will also provide $100 million in tax relief for 195,000 small businesses by widening eligibility and increasing a tax-return adjustment that reduces a small business’s gross business income. 

“New York’s comeback depends on the recovery and success of our small businesses,” Hochul said. “Since the pandemic hit, small business owners have been struggling with unprecedented challenges. New York is here with a simple message: help is on the way.” 

Proposal details

Funding for small businesses of the future: This initiative would support venture-capital and venture-debt awards for fast-growing, venture-backed startups that either locate to — or remain and grow in — New York. The funding will help emerging small businesses in the innovation sector, including minority- and women-owned companies “often overlooked by private-sector venture investments.”

Small business COVID capital-investment tax credit: This initiative would provide a tax credit for small businesses which took on COVID-related capital expenses. Those expenses could include retrofits, renovations, and machinery and equipment related to COVID safety enhancements. 

Seed funding for small businesses: This initiative would provide flexible grants to early-stage small businesses to help those that recently opened get off the ground, despite the COVID pandemic. Priority will be given to socially and economically disadvantaged small-business owners. 

Small business lending initiative: This initiative would provide reduced interest rates and accessible loans to expanding small businesses. As part of this effort, the initiative would seek to address disparities in the traditional loan market, which oftentimes precludes small businesses — particularly socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses — from accessing loans to grow their businesses or take on larger government contracts, the state contends.

Excelsior contracting opportunities initiative: This initiative would provide state-backed funding and technical assistance to position small businesses — particularly those which are socially and economically disadvantaged — to secure federally funded contracts related to the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This initiative would also include the establishment of an interagency Excelsior Contracting Opportunities Council — including Empire State Development, the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Thruway Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — to identify strategies to encourage greater minority- and women-owned small-business participation in forthcoming federally funded infrastructure projects across the state. 

Permanently legalize the sale of to-go drinks for bars and restaurants: To-go drinks were a “critical” revenue stream for New York’s bars and restaurants during the pandemic, helping many small businesses across the state pay their rents or mortgages, the state contends. Hochul plans to permanently allow for the sale of to-go drinks for off-premises consumption to continue supporting the recovery of bars and restaurants.        

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