MORGAN – One candidate for Utah’s 1st Congressional District is questioning the value of some proposals in the economic stimulus package now being debated in Washington, D.C.
Tina Cannon of Mountain Green said she is “frustrated” to see short-term fixes like $1,000 checks to the general population and Small Business Administration disaster loans being considered by federal lawmakers.
“This (Coronavirus) crisis is nothing like anything our business community has ever faced,” Cannon argued, advocating for Utah small business owners who she said are being financially devastated by social distancing. “There are better stimulus solutions available and some of those ideas are starting to gain traction.”
Cannon is an accountant and small business owner who had been involved in Republican Party politics since 2002, including a stint as GOP chairperson in Morgan County. She is also now serving a second term on the Morgan County Council.
Cannon said that, since the Coronavirus outbreak, she has been dividing her time between campaigning to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and working with Chamber of Commerce officials and business leaders to mitigate the financial impact of the crisis.
“I’ve been highly involved in economic development and the small business community for 25 years,” Cannon explained. “It’s just heartbreaking to talk to so many owners who are struggling with the reality of laying off employees and still paying their operating expenses when revenues are drastically dropping. These were successful businesses seven days ago and they will be again if they can survive the impacts of social distancing.
“If nothing is done, we will see a massive shift in business ownership … Very few businesses – especially those involved with food, travel or entertainment – will be able to float 60 days of expenses without revenues … We must implement a targeted stimulus package that will hold harmless the great businesses we had prior to this pandemic.”
Cannon hailed as very positive steps last week’s announcement of waivers for student loan debt payments and the SBA’s suggestion that the terms on loans be extended and the payments of those loans deferred.
“I hope to see this concept continue to spread to all lending institutions,” she added, “with federal government incentives for those who hold those loans. With debt payments automatically deferred, most businesses would be able to survive this crisis with minimal additional help. Employees would also be able to survive layoffs with the same type of payment deferment program.”
Cannon said she was also encouraged by the recommendations coming out of Washington for unemployment benefits to be available without any waiting period or job application requirements.
“I would also encourage the State of Utah to hold businesses harmless with regard to their unemployment insurance rates,” Cannon suggested. “These businesses should not face a rate increase for unemployment insurance for circumstances beyond their control.”