EDITORIAL: Small businesses need help now from newly elected leaders

The Gazette (Goose Creek, SC)
November 11, 2020

A recent statement from the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce echoes what local businesses have been seeking for months: help in their return to economic normalcy.

While South Carolina voters selected Donald Trump in the recent election, in the end Joe Biden has been democratically elected the next president of the United States and we need to swiftly bring an end to this hard-fought race, implement the will of the people and begin the hard work of helping small businesses survive and rebuild from the pandemic.

Frank Knapp Jr., co-chair of Small Business for America’s Future and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said on Saturday the we cannot allow illegitimate challenges to the election drag on for months and create yet another crisis that destabilizes the country and our economy.

He pointed to a recent survey that showed 66 percent of small business owners worried about election integrity say an unclear result would have negative consequences for the economy.

“Fortunately we have clarity,” Knapp said. “Biden won fair and square and it’s time for President Trump to concede so the country can move on to addressing the critical issues at hand.

“It is time for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to get to work and we encourage them to begin laying the groundwork for policies that will help small businesses survive the pandemic and thrive in the future,” Knapp said. “We also encourage our current Congressional lawmakers to absorb the message voters sent in electing Biden: they want leaders to take the pandemic seriously, listen to science and stop with the political theater. Do not wait until after the inauguration to pass legislation that will help small business weather Covid-19. Get it done now. Small businesses cannot wait any longer.”

A recent Small Business for America’s Future survey found 34 percent of small business owners say they will not survive past the end of the year without further financial relief, 28 percent have considered closing their business permanently due to Covid-19 and 19 percent are facing the possibility of declaring bankruptcy.

While these are national numbers, they reflect exactly the conditions here in the Lowcountry, where our communities such as Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, Carnes Crossroads, Ridgeville, Summerville and others are built on the backs of small business owners.

In its most recent statement to local media, The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce calls our current conditions a desperate state of affairs for the 30 million small business owners in this country who employ nearly half of all American workers.

“We need a healthy small business sector to have a strong economic recovery,” Knapp stated. “To get there we need a national plan to control the virus and additional federal relief targeting ‘Main Street.’”

Knapp called out the Trump Administration’s bungled handling of the Paycheck Protection Program, politicization of mask wearing and inability to provide further financial relief to Main Street has been disastrous for America’s small business owners and their employees.

“We hope a change in White House leadership is the reset needed to manage the pandemic and get the help our small businesses need to survive and recover,” Knapp said. “In addition to Covid-19 relief, we urge the Biden Administration to take on other important small business issues including the following:

  • Correcting market failures that have resulted in unbearably high healthcare costs and create affordable options for entrepreneurs and their employees. Seventy-one percent of small business owners surveyed say lowering healthcare costs is their top concern — so much so that every solution tested, from government-provided healthcare to market-based solutions, found support.
  • Common-sense tax policies that put small businesses on a level playing field with large corporations and correcting the failures of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Creating programs that promote the economic security of small businesses by addressing universal small business problems that make them less competitive with big business. Access to capital in particular was a top concern for small business owners.

In a March survey, 81 percent of small business owners said they did not think our leaders in Washington, D.C. understood what small businesses need. We sincerely hope new leaders in Washington will make small business a priority and do what’s necessary to ensure our Main Street small businesses survive, recover and thrive.

We agree with the bulk of Knapp’s assessment, and urge our returning and newly elected legislators Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Tim Scott, U.S. Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn and others who represent our state in Washington, D.C. to speak with a united voice on this most critical need.

Contact your local legislators:

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, 2500 City Hall Lane, 3rd Floor Suite, North Charleston, SC 29406. Phone: 843-727-4525.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, 530 Johnnie Dodds, Boulevard, Suite 202, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464, Phone: 843-849-3887.

U.S. Rep-Elect Nancy Mace (R-Dist. 1), info@nancymace.org, Phones: 843-580-6223, 803-212-6717.

U.S. Rep. James E. “Jim” Clyburn (D-Dist. 6), 200 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, Phones: 202-225-3315, 803-799-1100, 843-355-1211.


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