Small businesses get more access to NYS government, information under new laws

Originally published in Newsday on December 02, 2021.

Small businesses will have an easier time accessing state government and free programs designed to help them grow, under two bills signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday night.

One bill stipulates that an employee be named "small business liaison" in the state departments of agriculture/markets, environmental conservation, labor, transportation and taxation/finance. Each agency regulates small business activities across the state, the legislation states.

The liaison will be a contact person for small business owners, serve as their advocate within the agency and work on outreach programs for them. The liaison’s contact information must be prominently displayed on the agency’s website, the legislation states.

The other bill stipulates that information about free resources for small business owners be provided to them when they register their corporate name with the Secretary of State's office.

The information must include regional contacts for the Small Business Development Centers and Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers, both of them located on college campuses across the state; Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, and its online Business Mentor NY program.

New York state defines a small business as having 100 or fewer employees.

"I know how much hard work and dedication it takes to operate a small business," said Hochul, who helped her mother start a flower shop in Buffalo. "This legislative package will ensure state government can continue to be a partner and an advocate for small businesses."

State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), who sponsored both bills, agreed, saying after the nearly two-year-old pandemic "we need to do as much as we can to make life easier for them."