Like other local business execs involved in construction, Andrew Musci expects the city’s ongoing building boom to continue to be a positive for him in 2015.
“We are seeing more opportunities for work,” said Mr. Musci, CEO of Altel Systems Inc., a Brewster, N.Y.-based commercial integrator of audio and video systems that has worked on renovations at Lincoln Center as well as the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. “The city has been a bright spot that has continued, despite the rugged economy.”
With the new year approaching, it’s not only firms in the construction industry and related trades that are seeing potential growth. An October survey of 300 business owners in the metropolitan area by Bank of America found that 76% were confident they would hit their year-end revenue goal, and 60% believe their revenue will grow in 2015. Some 48% said they planned to hire in 2015.
And some local owners say they are pleased by the city’s effort to reduce the fines and bureaucracy that plague small businesses. Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin in July announced a program to, among other things, increase outreach and training, issue warnings in some cases instead of violations, and allow businesses to “cure” problems and avoid a fine. Also, in a last minute vote this month, the House extended a host of tax breaks at least for 2014, including allowing businesses to expense up to $500,000 in capital costs, a provision that has a big impact on small business purchasing decisions.
Nonetheless, many of the city’s small-business owners are adjusting to higher costs on many fronts, ranging from Affordable Care Act mandates to increased compliance requirements in certain industries. Meanwhile, some restaurateurs are worried about a hike in the minimum wage for tipped workers that Albany is pondering.
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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President