Queens, NY – In a letter sent to constituents this week, State Senator Tony Avella announced that he has introduced legislation, S5560, which will establish the Financial Assistance to Business (FAB) program. This program will provide financial assistance to dry cleaning businesses and nail salons across the state to upgrade equipment needed to meet certain environmental standards.
Many constituents wrote to Senator Avella during the budget process asking him to support an Assembly plan to implement such a program through budget negotiations. However, the plan was never communicated to the Senate or Governor and was scrapped from the final budget. Understanding the necessity of this program, Senator Avella took matters into his own hands and introduced legislation independent from the budget process that will provide support for small business owners trying to comply with certain environmental standards.
The proposed legislation will provide assistance to dry cleaning businesses purchasing non-perchloroethylene (PERC) machines and sprinkler systems. The legislation will also provide assistance to nail salons for upgrades to mechanical ventilation to comply with air quality regulations.
Research over the past 20+ years into the health risks of chemicals used in the dry cleaning and nail salon industries has shown that these chemicals are dangerous to both employees handling these materials and to customers and nearby residents. In 1997, the State of New York imposed regulations regarding equipment, operation, and maintenance standards for dry cleaners who continue to use PERC. Unfortunately, the costs of complying with these regulations are very costly and can range anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 or higher.
“The need for these industries to comply with clean air standards and to protect their employees and customers is obvious. What isn’t obvious, however, is how these small businesses will be able to do so without being forced to cease operations and add to the growing loss of small businesses that are the lifeblood of a strong economy,” said Senator Avella.
“This bill will provide financial assistance to these businesses to allow them to meet their responsibility in providing a healthy environment while allowing them to remain in business and provide good jobs and great services to their communities,” concluded Senator Avella.