OPINION: The federal government needs to communicate more

Federal aid is a good thing, however there needs to be more communication with small businesses



The federal government needs to do more to support small businesses.

GUS WATERS, Evergreen columnist

The federal government needs to communicate more to small business owners to help them get the benefits available to them from the stimulus package. 

The federal stimulus package contains $376 billion for small businesses, which offers services from a paycheck protection program, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance of up to $10,000 per business, an Express Bridge Loan Program which provides up to $25,000 per business if there is a delay for the EIDL Advance, and a debt relief program where the Small Business Administration delays the repayment of federal loans. 

While the programs the federal government has created are helpful, they need to do more to ensure that small businesses are given the information they need to so they receive the benefits they need to stay afloat. 

Yul Joo, the owner of Red Bento, located in Moscow, said that he lost 70 percent of his income, and had to lay off 13 of 15 servers and 70 percent of his kitchen staff. He said his business hadn’t received any information from either federal or local government about the resources available to him from the stimulus package.  

The United States is headed into a dire financial position, and small businesses will be affected on a massive scale. In times like these many look to government for assistance.  

“I think the city [of Pullman] has done a good job with communication,” said Brice Erickson, the owner of B and L Bicycles. “This situation is like driving on black ice, you have no idea what you’re up against.” 

Pullman has done what it can do to help small business and is an example for other governments to look up to.  

Tawney Szumlas, the owner of Rico’s Pub, said the city of Pullman had helped her business and others like it push advertising and create safe takeout areas for people to come in and pick up food without risking infection. 

With the federal government however, there is a different story.  

Erickson said the benefits he was supposed to have received from the Payroll Protection Act were to come from a local bank, but when he contacted his local banker to receive the benefits, the bank wasn’t aware of the terms and conditions of the loans since the federal government hadn’t effectively communicated them.  

If businesses are to receive the benefits available to them, the federal government needs to communicate more to both local businesses and banks what the eligibility is for assistance, and how it is to be distributed.  

Szumlas said that while she thought that most business owners in Pullman were very informed, she had difficulty understanding the legalese of what the assistance packages were from the federal government.  

The federal government has an obligation to the businesses it claims to want to protect. Many in Congress claim that this is in fact their main goal in running for office. It is time now to protect small business from a crisis that is near unprecedented.  

There has already been a momentous step forward in helping small business by providing these benefits in the first place. Now they need to effectively communicate how small businesses can take advantage of what is available to them.  

Whether it is cold calling banks, making the SBA website more navigable, hiring more employees to help with paper work or working with local governments like Pullman, the federal government needs to communicate with the businesses it is already trying to help.