Louisiana small business owners seek additional federal COVID-19 relief

Nearly 50 Louisiana small business owners will join others nationally in pressing members of their state’s congressional delegations for additional COVID-19 relief for small businesses.

In a series of virtual meetings scheduled for Wednesday, the business owners—all of whom are alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices program—will present their representatives in Washington, D.C., with a new policy agenda, prioritizing issues that they believe Congress failed to address in its most recent relief package, which passed in December.

“Small business owners are cornerstones of our communities and engines of the economy—but too often they are overlooked and not prioritized by elected officials in Washington,” the agenda reads. “While Congress’ efforts to support small businesses have been tremendously appreciated, more is needed to help [them] survive the pandemic and recover.”

Namely, they want the feds to provide a temporary liability shield to protect small businesses from lawsuits in the event their employees or customers are diagnosed with COVID-19, grant tax incentives to help small businesses offset reopening costs, and increase access to affordable child care and health care.

Other issues they’re requesting Congress prioritize in 2021 include:

  • Lowering health care costs for small businesses; 
  • Incentivizing larger businesses to use more small business vendors; 
  • Creating a new loan program, known as the RESTART ACT, which would cover six months of payroll, benefits and fixed operating expenses; 
  • Simplifying the government request for proposal process for small businesses;
  • Enabling commercial rent deferrals or other rent assistance for small business owners.

The agenda comes at a dire time for small business owners in the U.S., based on feedback from surveys of 10,000 Small Businesses participants and likely voters that were conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research in September, October and November 2020. Since the pandemic began, 52% of employers say they’ve forgone paying themselves, 42% have been forced to lay off employees or cut employee compensation, and 33% have been forced to dip into their personal savings to keep their business operational.

Altogether, 98% of small business owners say it’s important for there to be a comprehensive federal agenda to help small businesses recover from the economic hardship caused by COVID-19 and support future growth. Read the full policy agenda.