The State Budget was finalized earlier this month. The highlight of the budget this year is the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant program that will be administered by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). The grants can be used to cover various business costs including payroll; rent or mortgage payments; payment of local property or school taxes, insurance; utilities; personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) or other machinery or equipment costs necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The grant program gives priority to microbusinesses, minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE), service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, as well as small businesses that did not qualify for federal assistance or did not receive sufficient federal assistance, as well as socially and economically disadvantaged business owners and businesses located in communities that were economically distressed prior to March 1, 2020. The budget also includes $25 million for the NY Restaurant Resiliency Grant program as well as $35 million in tax credits for restaurants in areas impacted by enhanced COVID-19 restrictions. We’ve initiated discussions with ESDC on the details of these programs and how you can access them. We’ll let you know as soon as we receive further guidance.

The budget includes a number of tax increases – an increase in the Article 9A corporate franchise tax rate from 6.5% to 7.25% for taxpayers with taxable income over $5 million applicable to tax years 2021, 2022 & 2023 and the adoption of temporary high end personal income tax rates and brackets, which imposes three additional tax brackets for tax years 2021 through 2023, inclusive, and then maintains the “temporary” top rate of 8.82% through 2027.