We are in the midst of an economic cataclysm the likes of which this country has not experienced for decades, perhaps ever. The effect on small businesses - the drivers of the American economy - has been devastating.
All the more reason why government must act immediately to not only cushion the blow, but provide the tools for small businesses to reopen and return their furloughed employees to the workforce.
In the past three weeks, I sponsored several motions approved by the council that are critically important to this effort.
The council in mid-March approved my emergency motion that allocates $11 million for a loan program to assist small businesses reeling from the economic effects of the crisis.
The measure specifically allocates the funds to the Small Business Emergency Microloan Program, to be managed by the Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD).
At last week's council meeting, I introduced a motion instructing the Economic and Workforce Development Department implement a six-month forbearance period for all outstanding city loans to small businesses, including the City's Section 108 loan program, expanded COVID-19 emergency microloan program, and small business loan program.
Another motion instructs the Controller, Bureau of Contract Administration, Board of Public Works, and all other contracting departments to pay any outstanding invoices to local businesses on a 15-day timeline for a period of six-months.
I will be introducing additional measures in the coming weeks that will offer relief to small businesses and save jobs and income for working people in this time of crisis. It is absolutely imperative that government create the conditions now for small businesses to thrive in the future.