Loading...

NewDEAL Task Force Releases Strategy for Maximizing COVID Relief to Small Businesses

December 11, 2020 by Dan McCue
Post Avenue in Westbury, N.Y. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The NewDEAL Forum’s Renewing America Task Force on Friday released a list of recommendations intended to help state and local governments maximize COVID-relief aid for small businesses.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in February, more than 97,900 small businesses across the nation have shut their doors permanently, according to a recent report in Fortune magazine.

“If economic trends continue at this rate, one in five business owners anticipates they won’t make it until the end of the year,” Kevin Kuhlman, the vice president of federal government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business, told the magazine.

The Renewing America Task Force was created to identify and promote the most effective state and local policy solutions for rebuilding the nation’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its five co-chairs are Phoenix, Ariz., Mayor Kate Gallego; Mich. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II; Shelby County, Tenn., Mayor Lee Harris; Baltimore, Md., Delegate Brooke Lierman; and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read.

The paper they released Friday is intended to serve as guidance for state, county and city leaders on how to maximize the relief available to entrepreneurs and provide more equitable opportunities in the recovery from the pandemic.

The full report can be read here.

The Task Force’s work on these issues included a specific focus on long-standing inequities that have impeded access to capital and technical assistance for people of color and other disadvantaged populations. 

Emphasizing the Census Bureau’s finding that nearly half of companies nationwide believe it will be at least six  months before their businesses return to a normal levels of operations, the task force’s priorities to support small businesses include: 

  • targeting limited city and state funds to fill gaps in federal support, and prioritizing preservation of businesses, recognizing that saving businesses is more efficient than waiting for new ones to open.
  • providing assistance for small businesses to apply for federal support, as well as to help them understand how banks view their finances so that they can become more successful at applying for loans;
  • helping businesses to protect public health and move services online/operate remotely where possible; and
  • relaxing local regulations to allow businesses to operate more flexibly to meet public health guidelines, such as expanding space available for outdoor dining.

“While public health concerns should prevent businesses from operating normally during a pandemic, that is no excuse for the dire straits in which so many hard working entrepreneurs find themselves” said NewDEAL Forum CEO Debbie Cox Bultan.

“They deserve leadership from elected officials who think creatively and take every possible step to prevent small businesses from folding through no fault of their own,” Bulton said. “The guidance we release today provides actionable, feasible recommendations for state and local governments to maximize the support available to small businesses, while also recognizing that our goal is not simply a return to the pre-pandemic status quo but rather an environment in which traditionally disadvantaged entrepreneurs have fair opportunities to thrive.

“In addition, we cannot emphasize enough that even more can be done if Congress would set aside political posturing, and stop drawing unnecessary red lines, so they can provide direct business assistance and help states and cities of all sizes to plug enormous budget holes that impact all Americans,” she said.

The document, informed by conversations with state and local officials and policy experts, includes a list of key policy principles and goals followed by examples of innovative initiatives from across the country. 

In addition to the steps above, key actions advocated by the Task Force include calls to: 

  • Support local and community banks;
  • Create or support community development financial institutions;
  • Consider a “second chance” lending program;
  • Tap into the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative; and
  • Eliminate unnecessary licensing requirements.

Among the model policies it highlights are microgrants for targeted industries in Shelby County, Tenn.; a Buy Local initiative in Albuquerque, N.M.; and the BankLOCAL program in Rhode Island, which moves state deposits to local banks and credit unions to make capital more accessible.

Economy

Stores Kick Off Black Friday But Pandemic Woes Linger

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are expected to usher in the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season Friday with... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are expected to usher in the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season Friday with bigger crowds than last year in a closer step toward normalcy. But the fallout from the pandemic continues to weigh on businesses and shoppers' minds. Buoyed... Read More

US Jobless Claims Hit 52-Year Low After Seasonal Adjustments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year's coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000,... Read More

Beyond Manchin: Dems' $2T Bill Faces Senate Gauntlet

WASHINGTON (AP) — It took half a year but Democrats have driven President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion package of social... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — It took half a year but Democrats have driven President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion package of social and climate initiatives through the House. It gets no easier in the Senate, where painful Republican amendments, restrictive rules and Joe Manchin lurk. Facing unbroken GOP opposition, Democrats... Read More

Biden to Keep Powell as Fed Chair, Brainard Gets Vice Chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that he's nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that he's nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing Powell's stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession in which the Fed's ultra-low rate policies helped bolster confidence and revitalize the... Read More

House Moves Toward OK of Dems' Sweeping Social, Climate Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats brushed aside months-long divisions and approached House passage of their expansive social and environment bill Friday,... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats brushed aside months-long divisions and approached House passage of their expansive social and environment bill Friday, as President Joe Biden and his party neared a defining win in their drive to use their control of government to funnel its resources toward their... Read More

Divided House Debates Dems' Expansive Social, Climate Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided House finally launched debate Thursday on Democrats' expansive social and environment bill, with party leaders hoping... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided House finally launched debate Thursday on Democrats' expansive social and environment bill, with party leaders hoping that cost estimates expected from Congress' top fiscal analyst would nail down moderate lawmakers' votes and allow passage by week's end. Two weeks after centrists' objections... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version