Two state lawmakers are urging Congress to provide more relief for small businesses battered by the pandemic in New York, a call that comes after a joint legislative hearing on the issue.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Assemblyman Al Stirpe in a letter to the state's Congressional delegation pointed to shortcomings with the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program as identified by small business owners.
"New York’s small businesses have been put into precarious financial positions because of the unprecedented pandemic," Rozic said in a statement.
"The only way to move forward is through a concerted state and federal recovery plan that includes relief for New York's frontline workers, major assistance to those who are unemployed including freelance and gig workers, and economic support to bring back small businesses facing sky high commercial rents, impacted unemployment insurance rules, and looming loan repayments."
The letter also pointed to needs for agriculture assistance, a clearer guidance on how future programs will be implemented and guidance for the funding of personal protection equipment.
"The purpose of these hearings was to do our part to make sure these programs supporting small business are having the intended impact," Stirpe said.
"We had a wide array of witnesses from around the state and across industries, who shared with us what has worked and what could be done differently to maximize support for this vital sector of our economy. It was a very fruitful conversation, and gives everyone a path forward to save more small businesses and local jobs.”
The state is starting the process of gradually reopening its economy, with most upstate counties in phase one of that now, as Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Valley follow suit this week. The first sectors to reopen are manufacturing, construction and some retail for curbside pickup.
The unemployment rate in New York in April shot up to 14.5 percent as businesses closed their doors.