Mayor Bill de Blasio signs Helen's Worker Cooperative bill into law (March 18, 2015)
Businesses in Manhattan between 96th Street and Chambers Street with an annual rent of $250,000 or more currently pay an additional 3.9% tax, the Commercial Rent Tax, which is a serious burden for small businesses. Helen's bill (Int. 799-2015) would raise the threshold to $500,000 in annual rent, so nearly 5,000 retail shops would find relief from this discriminatory tax.
Helen’s office holds quarterly informational and legal clinics for UWS small businesses and retail shops. Topics covered include how to renegotiate a lease as well as how to avoid city violations. Any UWS retail shop can sign up to join the clinics.
Helen sponsored legislation, now LL 2017/070, to enable store owners to get an email alert if a complaint against their store is recorded in 311.
We live in a world where the CEO of a company can earn more than 1,000 times the median pay of his employees. But there's another way to run a business: worker cooperatives give every employee an equal share of the business and an equal role in the business' decision-making. Helen has championed worker coops, which provide higher wages, better hours, and more job security to workers. The Council passed her legislation, Local Law 22 of 2015, which requires the City to report on the number of city contracts awarded to worker cooperatives and the number of worker cooperatives that received assistance from the Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Helen also advocated in support of the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, which allocated $1.2 million to the development of worker cooperatives across the city in the FY15 budget. This initiative led to the creation of new businesses and jobs in New York City.