By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to give small business owners a break on fines is an important recognition by City Hall that mom and pop stores help drive the city’s economy, said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Scissura, whose organization represents hundreds of businesses in the borough, had a favorable reaction to the portions of the mayor’s executive budget outlined by de Blasio on Thursday that dealt with the economy.
Scissura said he was particularly pleased that de Blasio announced a plan to decrease fines against small business owners, including summonses handed out by health inspectors and the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The chamber president also lauded the mayor’s plan to increase city funding to the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
"Today's budget gives all New Yorkers a clear picture of New York City's future. In particular, the decreases in fines on our small businesses and the increase in funding for the Brooklyn Army Terminal are big wins for Brooklyn's business community,” Scissura said in a statement.
In unveiling his executive budget, de Blasio said he would be making “big changes” to the way the city deals with small businesses.
"I thought the punitive arbitrary approach to fines, the revenue-focused approach, was really undermining small businesses and the ability of small businesses to create jobs. We are making big changes," the mayor said.
The budget de Blasio outlined on May 8 factors in less revenue from fines.
The Staten Island Advance reported that the de Blasio Administration is projecting that it will collect $789 million in total fine revenues in Fiscal Year 2015. That's eight percent less than was collected in Fiscal Year 2012, when the city levied $859 million in fines.
Health Department fines will be decreased by 44 percent, according to the Advance, which reported that the mayor announced a plan to decrease Department of Consumer Affair fines by 21 percent
The mayor announced a major new investment in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. “We’re also investing in some really wonderful job creation engines. The Brooklyn Army Terminal is going to get a major new investment over the next few years that will create more than 600 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent jobs. It will also continue to invest in what’s been one of the great success stories of this city, the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And this will all allow us to continue the efforts to diversify the city economy, including a focus on sophisticated manufacturing that really has shown great ability to thrive in the city, including areas such as 3-D printing,” de Blasio said.
Scissura said it was good news. “We thank Mayor de Blasio for recognizing that our small businesses are driving economic activity in New York City and for working hard to create a clear pathway for their success. We look forward to working with him and keeping business thriving in New York City,” he stated.