“Instead of doing the right thing and coming together to resolve their differences, the NHL owners and players are stuck thinking only about their own pocketbooks,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “The NHL lockout is putting small businesses, working families and fans in the penalty box. The lockout needs to end before more damage is done to our economy and community.”
“The NHL lockout is icing local business development. With no end in sight, Empire State Development needs to gear up with emergency-support plans to prevent a ‘lockout’ on local economic progress,” said Senator Kennedy. “This ongoing NHL dispute is roughing up the economy of Buffalo and Western New York, but the only people getting penalized are local business owners, workers and their families – not to mention the fans, many of whom have invested hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase season tickets. It’s time for the dispute to be resolved and the lockout to end – but if the players and owners can’t reach an agreement and more games are canceled, the state needs to be ready to partner with local businesses to ensure continued economic development in downtown Buffalo.”
In a letter to Empire State Development President Ken Adams, Senator Kennedy asked the economic development agency to begin developing emergency-support plans to help local businesses survive the lockout and keep their employees working. He encouraged ESD to partner with local businesses to ensure they can weather this economic storm caused by the NHL.
Senator Kennedy also offered a set of suggested emergency-support actions for Empire State Development to consider.
- Partner with the New York Power Authority and local energy providers to create a one-time utility grant for businesses that can prove significant financial hardship due to the NHL lockout. This could be 30% of their utility cost or $2,500, whichever is less. These grants would help businesses pay the bills they have regardless of how much revenue they are bringing in.
- Work with the NHL to ensure the viability of businesses suffering from the lockout by developing an emergency hardship grant. This economic support funding from the NHL should be set aside to help businesses make up for lost revenues.
- Offer interest-free financing for business owners to pay short-term debt obligations that they would otherwise be unable to meet due to the lockout. In the same way that the federal government works with banks to provide these loans, ESD should cover the interest on the loan and guarantee the loan 100 percent. The loans could be used for payments on existing loans, business credit card expenses and other short-term obligations.