Wednesday, October 05, 2005

News Four, Freddy, the Mayor and Small Business

We watched Jay DeDapper's "What Matters" segment dealing with small business issues and the mayoral campaign on "Live at Five" yesterday. The piece, which hasn't yet been posted on their website was quite good, certainly better than anything we've seen on this topic in the print media.

DeDapper, not always our favorite political reporter, was particularly good at cutting through Bloomberg's cant about his small business record. He deconstructed the mayor's "We've helped service over 13,000 small business inquiries" claim by pointing out that a look at the mayor's actual record (as well as the views of small business advocates), seems to indicate that this administration earns low marks in promoting and protecting the little guys of New York's economy.

DeDepper also hit on the small business impact of the city's ticket blitz and talked about Freddy's call for a ticket moratorium. He did question, however, how Ferrer would make up the around $15 milllion in lost revenue. He also talked about Freddy's controversial proposal to introduce a form of arbitration for commercial renters, a longstanding goal of a number of small business advocacy groups.

All in all, this segment was extremely useful at focusing attention on one of the Alliance's main themes: the absolute failure of the Bloomberg administration to nurture small entrepreneurs. In fact, this is another example of an egregious Bloomberg flip-flop. While a candidate Mike Bloomberg wrote the Korean American Small Business Service Center stating that the city, post 9/11, needed to do more for its small businesses because these firms, unlike their larger counterparts, don't have the resources to recover from the economic calamity generated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the city.

We've commented on this theme numerous times before but we'll refer you to our section on the city's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and small business fines for further demonstration of our point. In particular, the mayor's failure to rein in DCA commissioner Dykstra in her effort to enhance the power of her department and its regulatory assault on the city's retailers is the most compelling evidence of Bloomberg's myopia when it comes to small business.

Exacerbating this myopia was the mayor's acquiescence in putting a proposition, Question 5, on the Charter Referendum Ballot in 2003. The Prop would have given the DCA a judge and jury authority over the city's retailers and, in the process, have greatly curtailed their due process rights. Bloomberg did this after the same initiative had been nixed by the state legislature, earning the measure the unanimous opposition of almost every editorial board.

So once again we need to emphasize that helping small businesses does not mean hiring more bureaucrats to advise them on how to be better businesspeople (It results in more people on the public payroll. Where do we get this money from?). It means, as the Federal Reserve Report emphasized, reducing the cost of doing business, lessening regulation and lowering taxes; it's just that simple. Will Mike Bloomberg, in his economic ivory tower, ever get this?