Building an Opportunity Agenda
Immediate Economic Stimulus to Promote COVID-19 Recovery
Our economy and public health system is still suffering from the lingering effects of the Great Recession as we look at another economic downturn precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 1 in 5 American households is already experiencing a layoff or significant reduction in work hours due to the crisis. This is a particularly hard blow for our vital Main Street workers and businesses, who have an average of 27 days of cash flow in the midst of a health epidemic expected to last several months.
Vermont’s working families and small businesses were already facing a lack of access to capital, and now they need resources fast to stay afloat and find stability. While there are some promising proposals at the federal level to help struggling businesses and households, including renters, state and local governments must also do their part. We need regional economic recovery teams that can help bring together lenders, merchants, landlords, philanthropic organizations, non-profits, and community leaders to stabilize our Main Streets and neighborhoods.
As written in The New Localism: “These firms are not just the engines of our economy but the heart and soul of our communities. By using the wrong tools or not acting fast enough, we run the risk of building an economy that preserves larger companies that can stay afloat or have large logistics arms — the Amazons and Targets of the world — at the cost of smaller businesses that power much of the country. There is a risk, in other words, that without adequate support, the coronavirus crisis fuels another: the further hollowing out of the country.” We cannot let that happen here in Vermont, and it will take clear coordination, deep listening, and swift action to ensure our recovery.