Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) held a small business roundtable meeting Tuesday at the Rockland Community College Extension Center in Haverstraw with more than 30 local business owners. The roundtable was organized to inform local business owners of available resources to assist them in expanding and growing their businesses. Prospective business owners were also encouraged to attend to learn about available start-up assistance.
“The goal of this roundtable was to provide small business owners with information on various resources they may not have been aware of," said Zebrowski. "During these difficult economic times these programs are essential to the continued growth of our local economy and creation of jobs.”
Local business owners spoke about issues that hinder business opportunities including property taxes, government regulation and access to capital. Zebrowski said collaboration between small businesses and elected officials would help to create a business friendly environment,”
“I understand the problems our local business owners are facing throughout Haverstraw and Rockland County," said Zebrowski. "Taxes by far are the biggest challenge for small businesses. Last year we passed legislation that exempted 80% of Rockland businesses from the MTA tax and I plan on pushing legislation next session to provide school tax relief to small businesses.”
Guest speakers included from Empire State Development Mid-Hudson Regional Director Aimee Vargas, Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato, Chair of Rockland SCORE Mark Rothenberg, Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips and RCC President Dr. Cliff Wood. They explained the various programs and services their respective office or organization provides and the importance of small businesses in bolstering the economy.
“In these economic times, many Rockland residents are interested in exploring the idea of opening up their own business," said Piperato. "Small businesses are the catalyst for economic recovery and we must furnish them with tools necessary to succeed.”
Vargas said events like the two-hour long roundtable provide critical information about tools available to small businesses.
“The State understands that small businesses are truly the backbone of New York’s economy and in response has established an array of programs to help them grow and succeed," said Vargas. "Whether someone is looking to start a new business or expand, Empire State Development is always here to work and find ways to enable all businesses to grow, create jobs and contribute to building a stronger economy."
Mark Rothenberg added, “SCORE provides free confidential guidance and information, accessible to all, to maximize the success of America’s existing and emerging small businesses.”
Zebrowski noted that input from local business owners is essential to develop a strong local economy.