Budget Cuts Imperil Industry in North Brooklyn


DNAinfo reports that the City is looking to take away funding for Industrial Business Zones in its proposed budget cuts, which would mean many North Brooklyn businesses located in the zone might have to close up shop or move. The cuts would also take away funding from the East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Corporation, an organization that supports more than 300 industrial businesses in North Brooklyn. (Read our interview with the executive director here.) Filco, a refuse company in the neighborhood, is moving to New Jersey after losing some tax incentives with the city. They, along with other local businesses and Community Board One, have written a letter protesting the cuts to the East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Corporation. A rep from the Mayor’s Office for Small Business Services told DNAinfo that the Economic Development Corporation will offer other incentives to industrial businesses, and that the city may still consider scaling back the proposed cuts. About 40 percent of the area’s industrial workforce lives nearby. “Our community needs these jobs,” said an exec with the East Williamsburg Industrial Corp.
Budget Cuts Threaten Future of Industrial Businesses in North Brooklyn [DNAinfo]
Photo by m_oliver

8 Comment

  • This is a big deal – I’m wondering what political force is behind this. The issues faced by industrial businesses may be a bit hard to grasp for many (including me), but I do understand how lame Brooklyn would be if they all picked up and moved to Jersey.
    They make it possible for those who build and create on a small or large scale to stay in Brooklyn. And besides providing good jobs, these businesses keep Brooklyn going in ways that we don’t often think about – everything from the industrial kitchens needed by the Smorgasburg vendors, to the local plumbing, electrical and welding suppliers that you may never visit, but your plumber, ironworker, contractor, etc. repairing your home certainly has.
    EWVIC is a dedicated advocate for industry, and neutering the organization through budget cuts will put these businesses at risk, whatever the Mayor’s Office says to the contrary.

    • > I’m wondering what political force is behind this

      Property owners want to rezone so they can develop residential buildings; Bloomberg has opposed rezoning but he’s on the way out, so others in city government may be starting to make their move (step one – begin edging out industrial uses).

  • ianmac47

    The “nearby” industrial workers won’t be nearby for long.

  • This is exactly the kind of issue that our Public Advocate should be taking on – blue-collar jobs! small business! the middle class!
    I hope he is not too beholden to developers to do so.

  • I would argue that compared to other workforce sectors – e.g. financial services, real estate development, major sports franchises, the incentives are not so huge and the ratio of business incentives/benefits to the average Brooklynite are not nearly as lopsided.

  • return_of_benson

    “the incentives are not so huge and the ratio of business incentives/benefits to the average Brooklynite are not nearly as lopsided.”

    Petunia;

    Would you please explain the basis on which you make that statement? I believe that most Brooklyn residents work in the service center so I don’t see how you can make that statement.

  • It’s an admittedly vague basis, benson – I am remembering news coverage of the tax breaks used in the past few years to keep some of the financial giants in their downtown headquarters; the current brouhaha over the Dolan’s request for a 99-year renewal lease for Madison Sq. Garden, and just what I’ve seen large-scale Bklyn developers get away with. All those bigwigs get way more incentives to operate or stay put in NYC than would a welding supplier, and I don’t know of any small-scale industrial outfit that gets competing offers from states like NJ to relocate, as the big banks do.

    Of course many people in NYC work in financial services and others get a trickle-down benefit, but I am, admittedly, assuming that big corporations are getting a sweet deal above and beyond their ability to hire more workers. Whereas, with small businesses, any breaks they get are more directly proportional to their ability to keep their goods/services/workers local. While EWVIC works hard on their behalf, I don’t think they are rainmakers of that caliber. I mean, we’re talking on the level of getting a loading zone OK’d from the DOT.
    And do we really want all of our brooklyn neighbors to be in financial services, law, etc.? Nothing wrong with those professions, but variety benefits everyone. I’m sorry if my research is probably below your standards for semi-anonymous Brownstoner comments, but basically I find it hard to believe an organization for small industrial business is raking it in from the city at a higher, or even equal, rate than any of the major corporate sectors NYC is commonly associated with.
    I’m sorry if I sound a little snarky, but I have to get back to work! Someone else will have to chime in further.