On Thursday, the City Council passed a bill that is aimed at shrinking the Big Apple’s “bureaucratic maze” of regulations required to open and operate small businesses.
Sponsored by City Councilwoman Julie Menin (D-Upper East Side), the bill, if signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams, could potentially streamline the tangled process that small businesses go through to achieve proper permits and licenses.
The bill would create an online “One Stop Shop” portal allowing businesses to submit information on one site instead of having to coordinate through several different agencies. The platform would also allow them to check the status of applications and approvals in one place.
Currently, there are over 5,000 rules and regulations and 200 business-related licenses and permits that city businesses have to check off in order to be in compliance with the law. This overly-complicated regulatory maze creates confusion and red tape that results in delays and uncertainty costing time, money, and headaches for small business owners.
Menin said the long process should also be shortened because it further hinders entrepreneurs struggling to recover from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. “We haven’t done nearly enough to support our small businesses and yet they are the backbone of our city – it’s so dysfunctional and we wonder why one third of our city’s small businesses have closed during the pandemic! We learned in COVID that almost any interaction can be conducted online,” she said.
If passed by Adams, the bill would require the city’s Small Business Services to create the new system by November 2023.