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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Report: Minority-owned businesses have slower post-pandemic recovery

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Wednesday, December 20, 2023   

A new report showed New York City small businesses in communities of color are recovering more slowly post-pandemic.

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development survey found businesses run by people of color are more likely to close in the next year, and immigrant businesses are more likely to relocate in the same time frame. The pandemic is to blame for some of the problems, as are increasing rents and other economic factors.

Lucy Block, senior research and data associate at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, said lacking a lease costs businesses a chance to get necessary aid.

"Without leases, they weren't able to access PPP loans," Block pointed out. "There are also major gaps in information that's available when these merchants whom don't speak English as their first language are not able to negotiate their lease terms."

Around 88% of minority business owners were less likely to have a lease than their white counterparts. While paycheck protection program loans provided help for many, a Liberty Street Economics survey reported Black-owned businesses were almost 26% less likely to receive such loans.

Block argued merchants organizing at the city and state level could help enact changes to keep their businesses open.

Proposed legislation could help businesses with unstable rent prices. The New York City Small Business Rent Stabilization Act would have put a commercial rent control system in place. It would also develop a commercial rent guidelines board. Block contended laws can help strengthen current commercial tenant legislation.

"We have laws against the harassment of commercial tenants, but those laws are not sufficient because these merchants are still reporting that they're facing harassment," Block observed. "They need more legal resources. You know, those anti-harassment laws need to have more teeth."

She added people need to let go of the notion businesses are alone in their failures. Instead, Block stressed small businesses are part of communities, and are losing spaces to chain stores like CVS, Target, and Duane Reede.


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