Progress Made, But More Work to be Done To Keep American Business Alive
(Cincinnati, OH) – March 25, 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 economic response deal announced today by the Senate and the Administration, the Save Our Economy Now! coalition released the following statement by Nicola Williams, Owner, The Williams Agency, Board Member of SBN, and member of the coalition’s organizing committee:
This deal for an economic response to COVID-19 offers big progress toward saving the economy, however, there is still more work to be done. Many small and mid-sized businesses will be saved — and their employees protected — if the deal goes through and is quickly and fairly implemented. Every single day that we wait, we risk losing more small and mid-size businesses.
We are concerned that more financial and other support will be needed. We need to ensure that the government has the capacity to deliver in a timely manner and that small and mid-sized businesses can qualify for loans even with no credit and collateral.
Coalition co-sponsors and members also commented. “Local and independent businesses will be comforted to know they will receive this unprecedented financial assistance to help their staff — and their businesses — survive this crisis. Since they are the engines of our local economies, helping these businesses, will in turn, help our communities survive,” said Derek Peebles, Executive Director of American Independent Business Alliance.
“Based on reports, we think this deal is a good start for businesses of all sizes, their employees and all stakeholders. We applaud the efforts of Members of Congress who pushed for the financial support needed to avoid the worst possible economic effects of the public health crisis. The scale of the risks is enormous. We are glad that the scale of the proposed response matches it. The speed of the pandemic requires a speedy response, but it is likely that further steps will be necessary,” said David Levine, Co-founder and President, American Sustainable Business Council.
“By saving local and independent businesses, and giving their staff strong financial support, this deal has the potential to protect all communities across the country from economic devastation. If the small business parts of the deal can be implemented quickly, and reach all businesses affected by the pandemic, we will save not just those businesses and their employees, but our nation’s economy,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder, Local First Arizona.
“My tennis and health clubs have been serving the recreational and health needs of our communities for over 40 years. For the first time in our history, on March 15, we were forced to close our doors because of the growing danger of the coronavirus. In one day our revenues dropped from our best year ever, to zero! Like hundreds of thousands of other small and mid-sized companies our business stopped serving the needs of our community. Worse, we had to put 400 employees on furlough. Thankfully it appears that the federal government has agreed to come to aid of local businesses and their staff. We need this money now! We’re hoping for the best and keeping a close eye on making sure these new programs are well structured and implemented fairly in all communities across the country, said Laury Hammel, Executive Director, Sustainable Business Network of MA; Owner, Longfellow Health Clubs.
“I am encouraged to see that Congress is responding to the concerns of small business owners across the nation and hope this new deal will help stabilize businesses owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities. Our membership is looking forward to measures that will assist them in applying for these needed loans as well as expanded resources to serve their most critical needs,” said Segun Idowu, Executive Director, Black Economic Council of MA.
There are potential big wins for small and mid-size businesses:
- Unemployment insurance has changed in the following ways: It’s been expanded from 3 months to 4 months, and in the maximum dollars receivable, for COVID-19-related unemployment have raised an additional $600 from $800 to $1,400
- There is $350 billion set aside for small businesses with under 500 employees, with loans that assist with payroll, rent, leases. If they maintain all of their staff over an eight week period, and then the loan becomes a grant.
- The SBA has expanded the allowed deferments by banks for SBA guaranteed loans from three months to six-twelve months.
The Save Our Economy Now! coalition is working to promote five steps to keep American business alive:
- Provide federal assistance to small and mid-size businesses to cover expanded paid leave at 100%, and 100% of their employees’ health insurance. (Expected to be in the new bill.)
- Maximize unemployment benefits through federal government assistance so that laid-off employees can pay their bills. (Expected to be in the new bill, but enhanced UI needs to be structured so that employers will not have increased premiums if their employees need to apply for unemployment.)
- Restructure and/or defer bank debt and deliver adequate cash into the hands of small and mid-size businesses to cover lost revenue from the shutdown or turndown of business.
- Pay insurance companies to cover standard `business interruption insurance’ for the pandemic.
- Institute a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, utility shut-offs, and auto/equipment repossessions.
Representing national and local business organizations, the Save Our Economy Now! coalition was formed to urge the federal government to step up and save small and mid-size businesses, which represent 99.9% of U.S. businesses and employ over 60 million Americans. The coalition will continue to closely evaluate this legislation and will update you as things evolve.
Save Our Economy Now! has a petition for employees, customers and the general public to sign here. Business leaders may sign on as coalition members here. For a list of partnering organizations supporting this campaign, visit here. To learn more about sponsoring organizations, contact Executive Director Derek Peebles of AMIBA at 513-291-2494 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Executive Vice President Thomas Oppel of ASBC at 202-769-1366 or email@example.com.
About American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA)
The mission of AMIBA is to build a strong local economy movement by supporting the growth and development of local business alliances, associations and networks.
About American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC)
The American Sustainable Business Council is the leading business organization representing the public policy interests of responsible businesses. Through its national member network it represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. www.asbcouncil.org
Save Our Economy Now Organizing Committee Members:
- Laury Hammel, Executive Director, Sustainable Business Network of MA; Owner, Longfellow Health Clubs
- Segun Idowu, Executive Director, Black Economic Council of MA
- Michael Kanter, Co-Founder, Cambridge Naturals
- Bob Keener, Board Member, Sustainable Business Network of MA
- David Levine, Executive Director, American Sustainable Business Council
- Glynn Lloyd, Executive Director, Foundation for Business Equity
- Jeffrey Mayersohn, Owner, Harvard Book Store
- Derek Peebles, Executive Director, American Independent Business Alliance
- Theodora Skeadas, Executive Director, Cambridge Local First
- Nicola Williams, Owner, The Williams Agency, Board Member of SBN