Small Business Groups and ILSR Release a Federal Policy Plan to Save Small Businesses From Collapse

Date: 20 Mar 2020 | posted in: agriculture, Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Washington, D.C. — More than a dozen national and local small business organizations, together with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, have released a proposal to address the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Small independent businesses are facing an unprecedented crisis, and without immediate and aggressive federal action, many will not be able to survive.  

The proposed plan strongly emphasizes grants and subsidies, rather than loans only. Small businesses need immediate cash assistance in order to weather this crisis, keep their staff employed, and be in a position to lead an economic recovery. Loans alone will leave many small businesses crippled by excessive debt and at risk of failure. 

“Without decisive and bold action from Congress now, small independent businesses risk being completely wiped out,” said Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Grants, not loans, are essential. In a volatile and uncertain period, small business owners cannot take on crippling levels of debt. When life returns to normal, we need small businesses to be ready to rebuild the economy and restore the vitality of our communities.” 

The plan calls for rapid-response grants to keep small businesses afloat during the immediate crisis, followed by subsidies tied to payroll during periods of social distancing. The plan also calls for an expansion of federal loans and loan guarantees. It urges lawmakers to reject opportunism by politically powerful corporations and ensure that bailout programs do not exacerbate market concentration. Finally, it expresses strong support for measures to support individuals, including direct cash assistance and healthcare.  

Read the full proposal here:

The proposal has been co-signed by the following organizations: 

Allison K Hill, Chief Executive Officer
American Booksellers Association
White Plains, New York

Derek Peebles, Executive Director
American Independent Business Alliance
Cincinnati, Ohio

Barry Lynn
Executive Director
Open Markets Institute

Kimberley Mosley, President
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
Chicago, Illinois

Mike Tucker, President and CEO
Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association
Baltimore, Maryland

Terry Schalow, Executive Director
Running Industry Association
Carlsbad, California

Kristen Lavelett, Executive Director
Local First Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah

Jamee Haley, Executive Director
Lowcountry Local First
Charleston, South Carolina

Dana Eness, Executive Director
New Orleans, Louisiana

Kimber Lanning, Executive Director
Local First Arizona
Tucson, Arizona

Kim Dreux-Kelly and Kare Baker, Executive Management Team
Think Local First D.C.
Washington, D.C.

Rebecca Melançon, Executive Director
Austin Independent Business Alliance
Austin, Texas

Mary Alice Scott. Executive Director
Portland Independent Business & Community Alliance
Portland, Maine

Collin Murray, Executive Director
Dane Buy Local
Madison, Wisconsin

Theodora M. Skeadas, Executive Director
Cambridge Local First
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jennifer Rubenstein, Director
Louisville Independent Business Alliance
Louisville, Kentucky


FOR MORE INFORMATION and to schedule an interview with Stacy Mitchell, call Jess Del Fiacco at 612-844-1330 or email

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.