Sept. 10, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf called on the legislature to provide more taxpayer funding to bail out small businesses harmed by the COVID pandemic and Gov. Wolf’s own shutdown orders. This short-term idea fails to provide small businesses the help they need to fully recover.
Commonwealth Foundation’s Vice President Nathan Benefield has provided the following statement in response:
From March 17—the day the lockdowns were announced—to today, the Wolf administration has held small businesses back while giving big corporations, such as Lowe’s and Amazon, the leeway to maximally operate while following social distancing guidelines. Now, as we’re witnessing the consequences of those decisions, he’s proposing another bailout that does nothing to help businesses reopen and does nothing to reduce our astronomical unemployment rate.
While grants can mitigate the pain for a short period of time for a few local businesses in need, they are a far cry from the equal treatment and true reform that all local businesses in Pennsylvania need to survive. Small business owners need flexibility to reopen (and for restaurants, Wolf's permission to do so), the ability to recoup their losses in future years, protection from litigation, and the confidence that their government won’t be their foe on the road to recovery.
The program Wolf is proposing to expand recently experienced requests for over $800 million from 50,000 businesses, despite having only $225 million in funding. There are approximately 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania, and their overall business revenue is still down by about 25%, according to Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker.
Commonwealth Foundation’s proposals to jump-start small businesses:
Give small businesses the same leeway to operate as large corporations have been given.
Adjust the tax code to permit businesses to carry forward any loses and aid in recovery.
Enact a package of regulatory reforms to ease barriers for job creators.
Protect small business owners against lawsuits.
Repeal prevailing wage mandates so municipalities and school districts can afford to hire local businesses to complete projects.
Reassess occupational licensing restrictions to help workers find jobs.
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Michael Torres at 850-619-2737 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.