NSBA President Addresses MembershipMarch 23, 2020
I’d like to first start by saying thank you. Thank you for holding on, thank you for doing everything you can to keep your business afloat, and thank you for continuing to support our mission here at the National Small Business Association. Today, that mission is a simple one: you.
Over the last two weeks, we have seen our collective situations change rapidly and profoundly – from a modest slowdown in business and overseas supplies to mandated business closures. It’s not something I thought would ever happen in the U.S., and yet, here we are.
After a week of all-hands-on-deck at all hours of the day here at NSBA, I want to acknowledge that we are lucky: we are still able to work and continue doing what it is we do. But we are very aware that our ability to continue to fight for small business is directly linked to your livelihood, and we are 100% in this fight with you.
COVID-19 has created an economic disaster and we will be feeling its impact for months if not years. Whether you’re high-risk for the virus or simply someone trying to go about daily life, not a single American is unaffected. In my 30 years advocating for small business, I’ve never seen an event so suddenly reverse strong economic growth and bring so many small businesses to their knees.
NSBA’s staff and leadership has been at the epicenter of discussions on what our government must do to try and minimize and shorten COVID-19’s devastating economic impact.
I personally have briefed Senators on the state of play for America’s small businesses. I have spoken with the White House and weighed-in with the House of Representatives. NSBA’s volunteer leadership is meeting constantly to ensure we are abreast of changing developments in your communities and advocating for real-world, workable solutions for your small business.
The key message we have delivered to policymakers: maintaining small-business cash-flow and liquidity is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, we have been working with the Senate on a package that stands to provide significant benefit to almost every small business. It appears that package will have the following components:
- Guaranteed loans large enough to cover payroll, lease, and other key business expenses for four months;
- Complete forgiveness of all loan dollars spent on payroll and lease expenses, so long as payrolls are substantially maintained;
- No loan repayment required for at least one year, and a low 4% interest rate for remaining balances;
- Loan processing through existing banks, without having to wait for a new federal bureaucracy;
- A payroll tax holiday for small businesses and their employees.
Most important, I have underscored the need to move quickly – we, you, cannot wait for partisan politics to muck-up relief packages. And while we believe the U.S. Small Business Administration is best equipped to administer these loans given their existing relationships with most banks, it is critical they receive ample resources to carry out a program of this magnitude.
Furthermore, lawmakers must look not only at what happens the first two weeks, but what happens two and three months down the road: an employee may get paid leave off for two weeks, but have no job at all when things finally normalize. Most small businesses exist on very narrow margins and simply don’t have the scope necessary to juggle employees and finances around to float the business indefinitely. New and untenable burdens from the federal government will only exacerbate the problem.
We have developed a resource center where you can find a plethora of useful information. This is a one-stop-shop where you can find all things related to COVID-19 and your small business, including:
- Latest updates on policy proposals to help small business
- Profiles of how small businesses are being impacted
- Links to federal government resources
- Legislative activity NSBA has taken
- A platform to share your story with NSBA
- A business impact poll on COVID-19
- A podcast of our latest briefing call on the virus and government relief proposals
We are aggressively reaching out to the media to ensure your stories are told. Your stories and situations change daily, however, and we need to keep hearing from you – please share your story with NSBA.
Our lobbying efforts are nonstop. Through NSBA letters, emails, phone calls as well as our participation on several coalitions dedicated to entrepreneurship and small business, we are using every tool at our disposal to ensure lawmakers hear what matters TO us, FROM us.
Whether or not you have serious concerns about the health implications, it is a fact that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our economy and your small businesses. I want you to know that I see you, I hear you and we here at NSBA are working nonstop for you.
We are planning to release another podcast soon to update you on where things stand on Capitol Hill – stay tuned to our COVID-19 resource center for details on that.
Thank you for standing by us. Together, we will get to the other side of this immediate crisis a stronger, unified, and more resilient small business community.
Todd McCracken, NSBA President and CEO