Storefront Blues

The Story

Mayor de Blasio wants to impose a “vacancy tax” on landlords who fail to find tenants for their properties. Nobody likes it when shops close and storefronts stay empty, sometimes for years. But rather than interfering with the price-setting mechanisms of the free market, the city should pursue more sensible ways of encouraging small businesses and landlords — like easing burdensome and counterproductive regulations.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Strangled: Stifling local regulations force many small businesses to close. Read more.

  2. Distorted: Efforts at engineering specific retail environments typically wind up making it more expensive for small businesses to operate. Read more.

  3. Vacant: The city should wait to see what impact the reduction of the commercial rent tax has on retail vacancy rates before jumping in with another tax. Read more.

“The rise of ecommerce outlets like Amazon has made it harder for traditional retailers to attract customers to their stores.”

Fox Business News

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Politics of Small Business By Laurence Sprung (Summer 1993)

“Dinkins and other New York politicians are discovering that the city’s estimated 189,000 small business owners are a potentially powerful political constituency.”

And in other news...

“409 Edgecombe Avenue has plenty of history: the Sugar Hill apartment building was home to luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance, including Thurgood Marshall, William Stanley Braithwaite, and W.E.B. Du Bois. It’s also home to the oldest sidewalk scaffold in New York City.”