As Small Business Optimism Is at Its Lowest Level, Local Government Isn’t Helping or Responding

| March 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

Sadly, many small and independent business owners are beginning to wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Those hoping for an upturn in the economy aren’t confident that the business climate will get any better within the next six months. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Optimism Index, owners expecting business conditions to improve dropped to the lowest level since November 2013.

“As Congress debates another stimulus package, small employers welcome any additional relief that will provide a powerful fiscal boost as their expectations for the future are uncertain.” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dictate how small businesses operate, and owners are worried about future business conditions and sales.”

In addition to finding qualified workers, small businesses must also contend with rising labor costs and compensation. The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 is legislation under consideration by Congress that would increase the federal minimum wage by $15 per hour over five years. Eighty-nine percent report they would have lower earnings and 87 percent said they would need to increase prices to compensate for higher wages.  Some say they will have to get along with fewer employees, meaning job losses.

What is addressed above is occurring at the national level. However, at the local level, there are a series of issues that are plaguing small businesses:  the pandemic, restrictions, and now, much needed parking spaces were eliminated by the City without notice to local businesseson India Street.  In fact, 20-plus parking spaces on lower West Washington at India Street were suddenly removed in a couple hours, without any notice to the businesses on India Street, the Uptown Community Parking District, or to Mission Hills BID.

When I met with the business owners after the parking spaces were eliminated, they were still in disbelief that this could happen.  They refer to it as a “knee jerk” reaction from the mayor’s office for making this decision.  Especially when they know that there is a more comprehensive plan from SANDAG that was approved by the businesses on India Street, the Uptown Community Parking District, Mission Hills BID, and Mission Hills Town Council.

When I spoke to the president of the Mission Hills Town Council, Steve Cline, he shared his frustration with this outcome, and said he had reached out to the mayor’s office and Councilmember Stephen Whitburn. Neither has responded after several attempts to reach them. 

On top of that, we have businesses on Washington Street that have been reaching out to Councilmember Whitburn’s office, and the mayor’s office with no response on environmental services issues.  Human feces on public and private property have become a health hazard to restaurants and other businesses trying to keep their doors open and remain financially sound.  Attempts to address this are getting no response from the offices of our elected officials.

These are trying times for small businesses.  And, it would seem that our elected officials would do the right thing to help them.  Instead, we are learning of more disinterest from our elected officials who seemed to have decided that they don’t need to serve their constituents now that they are in office.

Unfortunately, the truth hurts all of us small business owners.

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Category: Business, Covid-19, feature, Finance, Government, Local News, National News

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