Guest Editorial: Mesa Fights for Small Businesses, Jobs; Scottsdale’s COVID-19 Efforts Still Slow and Stumbling

By Recker McDowell —

The city of Mesa is tapping into the $90 million it is receiving from the CARES Act to help save small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mesa is looking to dedicate $18 million — or 20 percent — from its federal Coronavirus money for business survival.

Other cities, including Scottsdale, need to also take aggressive and decisive actions to help small businesses, restaurants and other companies negatively impacted by the pandemic. Some businesses are being helped with loans and grants from the $2 trillion federal stimulus program. But others have not yet received help. The U.S. economy has already lost 30 million jobs.

Communities that are slow to act or are indecisive during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis face even worse disasters for their local economies, jobs, and tax bases. The time to act is now.

The Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority recently expanded a COVID-19 small business assistance program to $200,000. Small businesses can get $5,000 grants. The program is geared toward restaurants as well as the tourism and health care industries. Scottsdale needs to be doing a lot more and fast to help save small businesses and jobs. The federal economic program could help small business survive a few more weeks. Many will need help beyond that. Every second and every dollar will help save jobs.

Indecision and a passive approach are a recipe for disaster in already disastrous times.

Mesa is already offering economic assistance and other resources to its businesses. The new $18 million program will begin May 11th. Jaye O’Donnell, Mesa’s assistant economic development director, told the East Valley Tribune, some businesses and jobs will be lost. “We do estimate we have approximately 12,000 businesses. We don’t have enough money to save all of them. There will be a percentage that goes out of business,’’ O’Donnell told the Tribune.

But O’Donnell said Mesa is going to fight and battle to save as many as it can. “We are going to fight for every small business to stay open and to come back in full force,’’ she said.

We need to see the same the fighting spirit in Scottsdale and other communities.