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Senate Republicans introduce legislation to help restaurants recover from pandemic

Members of the Senate Republican Conference have introduced legislation to help “reset” the restaurant and hospitality industries that have been hit hard financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 3:44 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2021 5:52 PM

Members of the Senate Republican Conference have introduced legislation to help “reset” the restaurant and hospitality industries that have been hit hard financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Several employees in these industries have found themselves in the unemployment line after restaurants were forced to close early on in the pandemic to curb the spread of the virus.

The state has also suffered without the sales tax revenue from the hospitality industry, which is the second highest revenue source in the state.

A bill by State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, is included in the legislation, and would provide a credit on liquor license renewals for bar and restaurant owners that were forced to close during the pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a detrimental effect on New York’s restaurants, bars, and banquet halls and other venues, forcing many to reduce their hours, cut staff or close their doors for good,” said Griffo. “As we continue to confront this public health crisis, it is imperative that we consider and examine all the options that are available to help our struggling small business owners. This legislation will provide much-needed relief to establishments that are facing significant financial difficulties and uncertainties.”

Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51, also proposed a bill that would create an employee retention tax credit, modeled after the Federal Employee Retention Credit, to help employers keep workers on the payroll.

Below are more key items included in the legislation package:

  • Put fines from the State Liquor Authority into a business relief fund to help small businesses get back on their feet.
  • Make small businesses exempt from higher unemployment insurance rates due to layoffs resulting from COVID-related, government-mandated closures, and provide small businesses additional time to pay monthly sales and payroll taxes, as well as business and property taxes. 
  • Create a limited state sales tax exemption for the sale of food and drink at restaurants and taverns from state sales and compensating use taxes, and allow municipalities to issue the exemptions. 
  • Provide a tax check off box that will direct funds into a business relief fund.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2715335

Reported Deaths: 57428
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Kings34831910956
Queens32527210405
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Nassau2251823328
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New York1763044661
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Oneida32950637
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Schenectady19229244
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Chautauqua14837191
Oswego14047133
Putnam13091101
Chemung12740174
St. Lawrence12724143
Steuben12372189
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Jefferson11237105
Wayne10115102
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Sullivan950090
Genesee8556144
Herkimer8228143
Clinton801747
Fulton7768110
Tompkins735961
Madison7285108
Warren721996
Livingston713276
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Washington660678
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