NYACK — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand paid a visit to Maria Luisa’s Boutique in downtown Nyack on Thursday to push for legislation that would extend tax breaks for small businesses.
Flanked by fellow Democrats including U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey and Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White, Gillibrand said women-owned small businesses are among the fastest-growing segments of the economy, but start with one-eighth of the capital.
“What we have to do in Congress is create a better environment for which they can grow,” she said at the news conference at 77 S. Broadway.
In addition to tax relief for capital gains on investments in small businesses, the Success Act of 2012 would double from $5,000 to $10,000 existing deductions for startup costs and allow owners to write off up to $500,000 in new equipment purchases.
“These are just good ideas,” Gillibrand said. “I know we can pass this bill hopefully between now and the end of the year to have an impact on our economic growth.”
The women’s clothing and accessories store is owned by Maria Luisa Whittingham, a resident of Upper Nyack who was recently named Woman of the Year by the Rockland Business Women’s Network.
Speaking to The Journal News afterward, Whittingham, who has been in business for 25 years, said the bill could help her brick-and-mortar store expand into online retail.
“Our next step is e-commerce,” she said. “This will make it hopefully possible to invest the way we need to. Computers, servers and such are very expensive.”
Whittingham also noted that New York’s junior senator bought two pairs of Toms shoes, while Lowey shopped for gifts for family members.
“They told me they’re coming back as a group,” she said.
Rockland Economic Development Corp. President Michael DiTullo said the legislation, if passed, would provide a boost for local entrepreneurs and make it easier to build a business.
“Anytime there is legislation that drives down risk for an investor, or an entrepreneur, that’s a good thing,” said DiTullo, one of several Rockland business representatives to attend the event.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, with support from Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. But it remains unclear whether Congress will pass the bill before November.
Lowey said tax cuts were badly needed because many small-business owners continue to struggle in a stagnant economy. As if to underscore her point, Maria Luisa’s is next-door to several vacant storefronts.
“How could this not be a bipartisan issue in the House?” Lowey said, pointing a finger at congressional Republicans for what she described as obstructionist behavior.
Lowey, D-Harrison, faces Rye Supervisor Joe Carvin, a Republican, in November. The winner will represent the newly redrawn 17th Congressional District, which encompasses Rockland.
Gillibrand is heavily favored to win her re-election bid against Manhattan Republican Wendy Long.