An Indiana advocacy group sees opportunities for the legislature to support small businesses following statewide election results.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Indiana chapter saw their endorsed candidates win re-election, including Gov. Eric Holcomb and Speaker of the House Todd Huston (R-Fishers).
NFIB Indiana state director Barbara Quandt said the statewide results show a promising future for Hoosier small business owners in the upcoming Indiana legislative session, especially when looking to a future after the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think the people who have been reelected are pro-small business for the most part,” said Quandt. “My hope is they'll all work together well. And the legislature has shown a willingness to do what's right for the state and keep a steady hand, if you will.”
Quandt said one of her organization’s major legislative priorities this upcoming session is protecting small businesses from COVID-19 liability.
And with most election results in, Hoosier small business owners are hopeful an additional federal aid package will finally get passed to help those in financial need after the talks stalled out until after the election.
The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, stopped taking applications almost three months ago. The program, run through the Small Business Administration, was designed to help keep businesses open and employees on payroll during the pandemic.
Most businesses that received the forgivable loan have used up all the money and are trying to figure out next steps. One in five Indiana owners say they might have to close within the next four months.
Quandt said now, the new federal aid package needs to be a priority.
“So many small businesses, our personal money is all tied up into this,” she said. “They've mortgaged their house, they've maxed out their credit cards, to live that dream. And they've had to face losing a business that they could have done everything right and yet they’re out of business.”
At a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in Indiana, Quandt believes there has to be a balance between public health policy and doing everything possible to help small businesses stay open.
“There's certainly a health component to the COVID pandemic that is so tragic. I personally have lost family members to COVID-19 and it and my goodness, they die alone,” said Quandt. “But we also have businesses, family businesses that are dying from it. And while it's not the tragedy of the personal loss of it, it is tragic, too, because it means the future and hope and all of that is kind of on the line for these families.”
She said federal investment to help small businesses survive will also jump start the country’s economic recovery out of the pandemic.