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NYC's ailing grocery stores need a tax break, say owners

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The city’s affordable grocery stores are diminishing and the remaining ones need help

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Owners of independent supermarkets are pushing for Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to do away with the commercial rent tax from their industry, citing that many of the city’s small grocery stores and markets are already struggling as they attempt to compete with bigger brands and the online marketplace.

According to the New York Post, 132 brick-and-mortar business owners that pay the commercial tax are pleading with city officials to abolish it. Earlier this year, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilman Corey Johnson proposed a bill that would raise the threshold for those who have to pay the commercial tax. Instead of businesses who pay $250,000 or more in rent per year, the bill seeks to make it applicable to those who pay more than $500,000 in rent annually.

Brewer has thrown her support behind having the commercial tax abolishes completely for Manhattan’s small grocers, however, city officials say that doing so would be unfair since mom-and-pop restaurants and other small businesses would be excluded.

The city’s stock of grocery stores have been diminishing as a result of rising rents along with other factors. Just last year, Chelsea lost one of their Associated supermarkets while the Upper East Side saw its Food Emporium go bankrupt.