WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 3, 2021) – Small Business Rising, a coalition of independent business organizations representing more than 150,000 independent businesses, signaled its strong support for groundbreaking antitrust legislation being considered by the New York State legislature. The coalition applauded the Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act, noting that the legislation would dramatically level the playing field for independent business owners. If approved, the bill would put New York at the forefront of antitrust enforcement in the nation, and would finally give New York’s small business owners the opportunity to compete fairly with dominant corporations.
Authored by Sen. Michael Gianaris, the sweeping reforms would simplify and strengthen New York’s antimonopoly laws, and would expand what kinds of harmful conduct the law can address. Among other measures, the Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act would:
- Lead to clear, bright-line rules prohibiting abusive and anti-competitive tactics by dominant corporations
- Place New York at the cutting edge of combating monopolies and curbing corporate power by fundamentally redefining what constitutes dominance by a single firm
- Allow lawsuits against corporations that act unilaterally to stifle competition — an expansion of current law which defines anticompetitive conduct as occurring only when two or more companies are collaborating or conspiring to restrain competition
Small Business Rising, a coalition of more than two dozen organizations representing more than 150,000 independent businesses, was formed this year to urge policymakers to rein in monopoly power and inject fairness into a system that has long left small businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
Members of the coalition expressed their support for the 21st Century Antitrust Act.
“Monopoly power is the single biggest threat facing small, independent businesses. Misguided court decisions have warped federal antitrust policy, allowing monopolies like Amazon to engage in predatory and abusive tactics that harm smaller businesses,” said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and a founding member of Small Business Rising. “By establishing clear rules to block abusive behavior by dominant corporations, this legislation goes a long way toward giving independent businesses a fair shot at competing.”
“As an organization that has represented the interests of independently owned businesses for more than 120 years, we are encouraged to see that we may be making some headway in fighting a system that has traditionally been stacked against small business owners in favor of only the largest operators,” said Dan Tratensek, Chief Operating Officer of the North American Hardware and Paint Association. “This kind of legislation and movement is incredibly important, particularly at a time when small businesses are facing so many challenges.”
“We believe the Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act is a strong first step in renewing antitrust enforcement and leveling the playing field for the thousands of independent businesses in New York,” said Allison K Hill, Chief Executive Officer of the American Booksellers Association. “For too long, monopolistic companies such as Amazon have wielded their market dominance and concentrated power to box out small businesses and harm consumers. Senator Gianaris’s bill can help restore free and fair competition in New York State.”
“Corporate monopolization is one of the biggest threats to a thriving small business economy,” said Stephen Michael, Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance. “With the 21st Century Antitrust Act, New York small businesses will have simple and effective tools to combat anti-competitive tactics by corporations. As we come out of the pandemic, which accelerated corporate consolidation and advantaged big businesses over small, now is the time to ensure we can build back a more resilient, vibrant, competitive local economy. Antitrust law is essential to that goal.”
“New Yorkers love how local businesses contribute to the uniqueness of their neighborhoods and to the vitality of the entire city, but monopolies like Amazon continue to threaten independent businesses,” said Natasha Amott, owner of Whisk kitchen store in New York City. “We urgently need this legislation to curb monopolistic behavior in the retail market in order to give local businesses a chance to compete.”
“Amazon makes it nearly impossible for small business owners like myself to make a profit selling on their Marketplace,” said Bill Stewart, owner of LI Toy & Game in Kings Park, New York. “They ask for documentation they know you can’t provide. They stock a product you’re selling when they see it is popular and profitable, and then undercut your price. They pull your products off the site for no legitimate reason. Because Amazon controls so much of the online selling market share, we don’t have a choice and need to be there. Small business owners need this kind of legislation so that our government has better tools to stand up to monopoly bullies like Amazon. They treat small business owners poorly because they know we don’t have the power it takes to stand up to them.”
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