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Commentary: North Carolina needs additional federal funding to help small businesses survive the pandemic

Claire Calvin is a founding member of Triad Food & Beverage Coalition and owner of The Porch, Alma Mexicana, and Canteen Market & Bistro.

Commentary: North Carolina needs additional federal funding to help small businesses survive the pandemic
July 22
13:06 2020

By Claire Calvin

The COVID-19 pandemic has created great uncertainty and budgetary shortfalls in the Triad, in North Carolina and across the entire nation. State sales tax revenue has plummeted, leaving North Carolina facing a more than $4 billion budget shortfall. Local governments all over the state are also suffering from dramatic loss of sales tax revenue because so many businesses, including my own, were closed during March, April and May. Many remain closed or are operating at much lower volume than in normal years.  

As a small business owner in North Carolina, I’ve seen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic firsthand. In the midst of re-opening our restaurants for service under Phase II, we closed again temporarily following an employee testing positive for COVID-19. While devastating to our business, closing or limiting service was the right thing to do to help stem the crisis. The welfare of the community, and the people I employ and serve each day, is my number one priority. But closures like this across the board have resulted in serious shortfalls projected for most, if not all, North Carolina municipalities.

Budget shortfalls lead to difficult decisions. Leaders of our communities should not have to make the choice of cutting essential jobs or balancing the budget. Our state and local governments need federal assistance to survive and thrive. 

Without additional funding from the federal government for states and municipalities, many vital services and jobs could be lost, even as those services and people do much of the heavy lifting amid COVID-19. Without federal help, sales and property taxes will inevitably increase as a result of the virus. Put simply, residents and small business owners cannot afford higher taxes as they anticipate lower sales and increased costs in the coming months.

We can all agree that COVID-19 has created challenges we never expected across the globe, nation and North Carolina. I look forward to the time when our local, state and national economies return to previous levels and revenues improve, but we need federal help to get there. Senators Burr and Tillis – please support critical state and municipal grant funding to keep our economies afloat as we continue to battle COVID-19. 

Claire Calvin is a founding member of Triad Food & Beverage Coalition and owner of The Porch, Alma Mexicana, and Canteen Market & Bistro. Reach her at clairecalvin@nullgmail.com

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