“We will open if given the chance. We need to open.”-OHFF Business Advisory member
Ohio’s Future Foundation (OHFF) has been a leading voice for protecting and promoting small businesses and pro-taxpayer policies. Since its inception in January 2019, OHFF has worked with business leaders, and educated Ohioans in every corner of the state about Ohio’s unstable economic foundation and solutions to fix the problems the Buckeye State faces. The COVID-19 economic crisis is similarly targeting Ohio’s small-business community, which needs a pathway to reopening before it is too late.
With Ohio small businesses employing half of the state’s private-sector workforce and serving as an integral revenue source for the state’s treasury, it is paramount that we listen directly to small-business leaders. OHFF does this through its Business Advisory Council (BAC), comprised of over 50 small-businesses across the state, including restaurant owners, hair salon owners, manufacturers, and attorneys. One theme emerged among all of them: each business is poised to close for good if they do not open soon, and every participant stated they would open May 1st if given the opportunity using CDC guidelines.
Since conducting its BAC calls and countless other calls with individual business owners, OHFF has learned that the economic impact of COVID-19 permeates the deepest reaches of the state’s financial security. BAC members noted complete staff layoffs, some incurring up to 80% losses in revenue, several being overlooked by SBA Paycheck Protection Loans in favor of bigger companies, and employees being unable to obtain unemployment. It is evident that with every passing day, closures could result that would cripple local economies and reduce state funding for essential services for decades to come.
Our economy relies on these businesses to provide critical funding. It’s time to have a specific and measurable plan for these businesses to open. “Ohio’s businesses need certainty and predictability. Ohio’s fiscal foundation was on shaky ground before the COVID-19 crisis. Businesses need a plan to move ahead”, stated OHFF’s Chairman, Jim Renacci to the BAC participants. It’s time to get back to work for many of them on May 1. It’s time to place our trust in these small business owners to lead Ohio’s economic recovery, as they have always been our economic backbone.