Julie Menin takes the helm of the New York City Council’s Committee on Small Business

Julie Menin takes the helm of the New York City Council’s Committee on Small Business

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

“I ran for City Council on a platform to help support our struggling small businesses with a detailed plan of action focused on reducing onerous fines, implementing legacy small business legislation, reducing the commercial rent tax and creating a one stop portal for licenses and permits,” Menin said in a press release.

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Menin took office this month, representing District 5 which includes Roosevelt Island and a long swath of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She described her business experience in a Q&A, just this week.

Here’s the complete text of her press release after becoming chair of the Small Business Committee:

Today, the New York City Council voted to appoint Council Member Julie Menin as Chair of the Committee on Small Business, which has jurisdiction over matters relating to retail businesses and emerging commercial industries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled our small businesses. According to a report released on January 4th by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York City’s restaurant, retail and recreation (RRR) sectors continue to struggle, with 169,700 fewer jobs in November versus two years ago. These losses accounted for 41% of total private sector jobs lost in the city during the pandemic. According to a study from the Partnership for New York City, one-third of local small businesses will likely close before the pandemic ends.

Council Member Menin has a long and experienced history with both running and supporting small businesses. In 1999, she operated Vine, her own restaurant and catering business located a few blocks from what would become known as Ground Zero, which grew to almost 100 employees. When her business was devastated on 9/11, she founded and ran the non-profit Wall Street Rising to help lower Manhattan recover. Menin grew the organization to over 30,000 members, helped small businesses understand and obtain the government relief funding that was made available and collect business interruption insurance, and is credited with helping more than 600 small businesses stay in lower Manhattan.

In 2014, Council Member Menin was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs (now known as the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection), which had a notorious reputation for issuing excessive fines to businesses to generate revenue for the city. Julie is credited with lowering the number of violations that were crushing small businesses where there was no consumer harm from 19,888 in fiscal year 2014 to 11,923 in fiscal year 2015 while increasing consumer restitution from $3.6 million to $6.2 million in that time frame. She also oversaw the implementation of groundbreaking signature NYC policies, including the expansion of the Living Wage Law, the Small Business Relief Package, and the Paid Sick Leave Law. Julie next served as Commissioner of Media and Entertainment, overseeing an over $9 billion industry in this city, where she increased film and TV production to historic heights resulting in thousands of jobs for working families, created the Office of Nightlife, while also implementing dozens of initiatives to increase gender equity in media and entertainment businesses. And Julie negotiated the historic deal to bring the Grammy Awards back to New York in 2017, resulting in a $200 million economic benefit for New York City.

“We are extremely excited to have Julie Menin in this role at such a critical time,” said Jessica Walker, President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “She intuitively understands the issues facing small businesses and she has a proven track record of achieving meaningful results time and time again.” 

“The New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association congratulates Council Member Julie Menin on her appointment as Chair of the City Council’s Small Business Committee. From running a small business in lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11 to heading up critical city agencies such as the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment as well as the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, Julie has invaluable experience and has demonstrated a keen understanding of the needs of business owners across New York City. We are excited to partner with her on policy and legislation that is important to the small business community,” said  Arelia Taveras, President, New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association.

“With the pandemic continuing to challenge our City’s small businesses at every turn, we are thrilled that Council Member Julie Menin has been named as Chair of the Committee on Small Business,” said Lisa Sorin, President of the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “With expansive credentials as a prior small business owner, chair of a community board, and commissioner of several city agencies that oversaw the reduction of small business fines by millions of dollars, we believe she will be an ideal representative & partner as we focus on ongoing recovery, and positioning our city’s small businesses for success in a post-COVID future.”

“The New York State Restaurant Association congratulates Council Member Julie Menin on her appointment as Chair of the Small Business Committee. We are excited to have a former restaurant operator serving in this pivotal position, and we know Council Member Menin’s experience will offer unique insights to the challenges small businesses, and especially restaurants, are facing and the incredible value they add to New York City. We look forward to working together closely this session as we strive to help the hospitality industry bounce back,” said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.

 “New York City’s small businesses have been devastated by the pandemic, and Speaker Adrienne Adams’ appointment of Council Member Julie Menin to Chair the Committee on Small Business is a very wise choice. As a former small business owner, chair of a community board, commissioner of several city agencies that oversaw the reduction of small business fines by millions of dollars, creation of the Office of Nightlife, and much more, Council Member Menin has the deep experience needed, and the track record of getting important things done in our city. We congratulate her and look forward to working closely with Council Member Menin to support New York City’s small business  community and recovery. ” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance and Robert Bookman, Counsel of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. 

“The NYC BID Association congratulates Chair Menin on her appointment and looks forward to working with her to kick-start our city’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Our City’s 76 Business Improvement Districts are as diverse as the city itself, and many face daunting challenges in the year ahead. We are thrilled that Chair Menin will bring her impressive experience and passion for helping small businesses succeed to this critical role,” said Elizabeth Lusskin & David Estrada, Co-Chairs, NYC BID Association.

“The Queens Chamber of Commerce is extraordinarily happy and proud to welcome NYC Council Member Julie Menin as Chair of the Small Business Committee. We look forward to her leadership of a critically important role as we work to exit the worst economic downturn, said Thomas J. Grech President and CEO Queens Chamber of Commerce.”

“Council Member Julie Menin’s appointment to Chair the Committee on Small Business is great news for small businesses in Brooklyn and across the five boroughs that are struggling to right themselves amid unprecedented economic difficulties,” said Randy Peers, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “The Council Member’s experience and passion for helping New Yorkers navigate challenging times is exactly what’s needed to drive economic revitalization and small business recovery, and we look forward to working with her.”

“The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce congratulates Councilmember Julie Menin on being named Chairperson of the Committee on Small Business,” said Linda Baran, President and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “Menin’s long record of serving small businesses, including as the founder of Wall Street Rising, as the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Commissioner of Media and Entertainment – not to mention owning a small business of her own – makes her an ideal candidate for this role. We look forward to working together to serve small businesses in Staten Island.”

 “As a former small business owner and Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs where I lowered fines on small businesses, I ran for City Council on a platform to help support our struggling small businesses with a detailed plan of action focused on reducing onerous fines, implementing legacy small business legislation, reducing the commercial rent tax and creating a one stop portal for licenses and permits. I thank Speaker Adams for entrusting me to protect the over 200,000 small businesses within our city and the hundreds of thousands of workers who depend on them for their livelihood as well as the millions of New Yorkers who use our small businesses every day. Small businesses are literally the backbone of our city and critical to bringing New York City back.” said Council Member Julie Menin. 

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