Cut it out! Commission wants to ax city red tape binding small biz

The Brooklyn Paper
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They want to help Brooklyn get down to business.

Borough entrepreneurs are invited to share their trials and tribulations in navigating the city’s bureaucracy to get their businesses off the ground at a hearing on reducing red tape hosted by Comptroller Scott Stinger at Brooklyn Law School on Oct. 16.

Stringer’s Red Tape Commission, composed of 29 business leaders and the comptroller, is asking business owners to come out and share their experiences with the hurdles the city presents people hoping to open shop or expand.

It’s a case study in the function — and dysfunction — of operating a business in New York, one commissioner said.

“If you have issues regarding permitting or violations — things that have stymied your small businesses from starting or growing — this will be a forum that gives you a chance to tell those stories,” said Michal Lambert, a commission co-chairman and the director of the Bed-Stuy Business Improvement District.

Employers can also network with business leaders and suggest areas where the city can improve the way it interacts with entrepreneurs, he said.

Rising rents are a problem for most small businesses, but will not be central to the discussion, Lambert said, because that issue is a matter of the free market rather than government policy.

“Someone who comes to the commission and says, ‘My rent’s too high’ — that’s going to be hard to address, because it goes back to the business relationship between the tenant and the landlord,” he said.

The commission is holding hearings in all five boroughs, and retailers and restaurateurs made up most of the complainants during a recent hearing in the Bronx, but commissioners are encouraging entrepreneurs from all lines of work to come with their gripes and recommendations.

“For this series of hearings, we want to hear from everyone — tech, retail, food industry,” Lambert said.

Red Tape Commission at Brooklyn Law School [205 State St., First Floor, at Boerum Place Downtown, (212) 669–7746,]. Oct. 16 at 8:30 am.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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