Local News

Governor Announces Small Business Assistance Amid Pandemic Fears

By  | 

We hate spam too, we'll never share your email address

 

 

With the uptick in COVID-19 and Coronavirus cases throughout America news that Governor Greg Abbott plans to reopen parts of the Texas economy with the signing of an executive order this week has met with mixed reviews. In advance of this news, President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter saying that the power to “open up the states” sits with him and the United States government, and not with the governors of individual states. Small business and the general public are presently waiting to see what happens next.

President Trump also added to his social media posts that “the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue, ” saying, “A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!” At a press conference on Monday, April 13, 2020, Governor Abbott announced $50 million in small business loans as part of a strategy to assist those suffering during the pandemic. However, he didn’t address the tweets made by the President.

Governor Announces Small Business Assistance Amid Pandemic Fears

Photo: envato elements

Reports indicate that Abbott maintained he spoke with the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birs, as well as Vice President Mike Pence with respect to the need to “safely reopen the state for doing business.” He cautioned that the situation  was “not going to be a rush-the-gates, everybody-is-able-to-suddenly-reopen-all-at-once” atmosphere. “Our ability to open businesses in Texas will be tied to our ability to contain the spread of the coronavirus. … We want to expand those that are able to open,” he said.

In the Governor’s announcement regarding small business loans in Texas, he further noted that strategies for such programs as well as reopening the economy will be revealed later this week. In the face of the COVID-19 and Coronavirus pandemic, Abbott advised that the intent is to “slowly, strategically, smartly and safely” have private businesses reopen. “What this capital will do will provide these companies the resources they need to keep employees on the payroll for the remaining few weeks or so until businesses can begin that process of opening back up,” he explained.

Governor Announces Small Business Assistance Amid Pandemic Fears

Photo: envato elements

According to reports, “police power” with respect to requiring businesses to close during such a public health crisis as this pandemic rests with individual states as opposed to the federal government. The $50 million announcement in small business loans is a portion of $550 million that was identified as a national commitment from Goldman Sachs. The loans will be administered by LiftFund, in conjunction with other financial institutions, with missions to work with underserved populations and markets. As such, during Governor Abbott’s Zoom online platform announcement on Monday, he was joined by Janie Barrera, the President and CEO of LiftFund, a Texas Hill Country-based nonprofit holding the largest micro-lending portfolio in America. Present for the announcement as well were owners of various Texas small businesses in addition to John Waldron, President and C.O.O. of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. When he was asked how much support and direction he was receiving from Washington, Governor Abbott stated this was “something where the White House and White House team has been communicating with governors for weeks now.”

Governor Announces Small Business Assistance Amid Pandemic Fears

Photo: envato elements

To date, 286 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 and Coronavirus pandemic have been reported in the Lone Star State. 1,176 remain under hospital care. 133,000 people have been tested for the virus in Texas and 13,827 tested positive. “The number of deaths reported yesterday was a three-day low,” Governor Abbott advised. “Those are exactly the numbers we need to see to show that we are bending the curve in the state of Texas.”

Originally published in mid-April, 2020.