Hey, Congress, small businesses are over your political games

There is plenty to argue about today – post an opinion on social media and find out. This is not a rant about one side or the other, I promise.

Regardless of our political or philosophical leanings, let’s agree on one thing: We can’t afford for our small businesses to fail. The folks who put their blood, sweat, tears, and hard-earned money deserve the best possible chance to survive. So, while it’s great that the President signed executive orders designed to help them Saturday, it’s no substitute for a Congress that understands the necessity of small business owners and will unify to get them the help they need.

That might sound out of the question in an election year – especially a hotly contested presidential election (Have we ever had one that wasn’t?), but please don’t tell me it’s out of the question.

A middle of the road approach is what is needed, and while Congress seems unable to find its way on the issue, the U.S. Chamber has fortunately found some. The Chamber sent a letter to Congress July 31 that spelled out the approach. You can read more about it here, along with the report that helped to form the idea.

Our discussions with small business owners in Ross County in the past few weeks found a few items critical to understanding their state of affairs.

First, many are still struggling – particularly those who have capacity limits. Summer and early fall months in Chillicothe help ease the burden of having nearly 25 percent occupancy to accommodate social distancing precautions. Still, when the weather gets cold and wet, the concerns are going to rise and outdoor dining won’t be an option to cushion the blow. Plus, they still live in fear of a second shutdown. Second, they don’t want handouts; they want a helping hand. Federal loans and understanding lenders have helped, but they’re frustrated by what they see as an ambivalence to their situation.

We need a new stimulus package not only for our small businesses but also to give our schools the resources they need as they reopen and for families to help boost the economy.

Our small businesses need us. Here are the contact forms for both Congressmen who represent Ross County (Rep. Steve Stivers, who has north of Chillicothe, and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who has Chillicothe and the rest of the southern part of the county) and here are contact forms for the Senators (Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman). Speak up and tell them you want to see the stalemate broken, and the critical help for small businesses and families passed as soon as possible.