Proposed Bills Aim To Reduce Fines For NYC Main Street Businesses

Proposed Bills Aim To Reduce Fines For NYC Main Street Businesses

June 16, 2021 at 10:33PM

New legislation proposed by two New York City council members aims to help mom-and-pop shops by reducing fines and relaxing code enforcement, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday (June 16).

The New York City Council is expected to pass the separate bills by Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Vanessa Gibson, both Bronx Democrats, on Thursday (June 17). The measure is intended to assist smaller shops and eateries suffering economically due to the pandemic. 

The bill sponsored by Gjonaj would institute an amnesty program with a 75 percent discount on all unpaid code violations issued on or after March 7, 2020. In addition, all other unpaid city code violations going back eight years would be reduced by 25 percent. “This amnesty program will give businesses a fighting chance to survive, maintain jobs and help rebuild our local economy,” Gjonaj said, per the WSJ. 

The second bill, which is sponsored by Gibson, proposes to revise 185 code violations to extend “civil-penalty relief” to small businesses, which would lower penalties and allow for warnings. The code updates cover violations for offenses like sanitation and noise control.

NYC penalties for code violations covered in the bill totaled almost $60 million in 2019 — some 339,315 tickets. While the city expects that the first bill will lead to as much as $40 million in unpaid fines, some officials estimate that the city will lose about $15 million in annual revenues with the second bill, according to the report.

The June report “Making Loyalty Work For Small Businesses: United States Edition,” a collaboration between PYMNTS and Pollinate, indicates that almost 40 percent of U.S. consumers support local businesses because they feel it helps the local economy. More than 50 percent said that it’s more important now than ever before.

PYMNTS’ June study, “After Vaccines: What Mass Vaccinations Mean for Main Street Merchants, showed that 88 percent of Main Street SMB owners have instituted new technology and other innovations.