By Jack Mayne
The mayor and city manager of Des Moines on Monday, April 20, 2020 sent a letter to the city’s congressional delegation thanking them for “providing crucial disaster for the health of our residents and the local economy because of the onslaught of COVID-19.”
The letter also noted that “we understand that negotiations on the fourth package are progressing rapidly,” but the two said they wanted to “share concerns we are seeing here in Des Moines.
“We are fortunate to have the support and dedication of leaders like yourself,” said the letter from Pina and Matthias that was addressed to Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and to U.S. Reps. Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal.
‘Depleted or stopped’
The two city leaders said “unfortunately, many programs specifically created to provide relief for businesses, and their employees” are already gone or are not continuing to take application; for example the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Others were halted because they were completely depleted or “no longer accepting applications due to the limited appropriation and high demand.”
Pina and Matthias said these actions are “felt locally, as hundreds of businesses in our community were unable to gain access to the funds before they were depleted. The business community needs more funding as rapidly as possible.
“Small businesses are at particular risk if this funding is not forthcoming and we know many entrepreneurs here in Des Moines are struggling to survive. Each local business that closes for good is a personal tragedy for its owners, employees and customers and weakens our Des Moines community.
They said local government in Des Moines and other cities are impacted by the coronavirus. Expenses to support the community are rapidly increasing, while revenues are shrinking.
“As front-line service providers, it is vital that cities of all sizes also receive direct federal assistance so that we can continue providing needed assistance to our residents,” said Pina and Matthias, “We recognize your outstanding leadership in introducing Coronavirus Community Relief Act in the Senate that would appropriate $250 billion for local governments. Please continue working to advance the policies in this legislation to get aid to cities as quickly as possible.”
They local leaders said federal “investments in small business in our community and metropolitan area are an investment in the economic future of our nation. We hope that the enthusiasm and effort around the business community endures, even as we continue the battle against this virus.”
Pina and Matthias thanked the Senators and Members of Congress again “for your continued leadership in providing needed resources for the health and vitality of Washington’s residents, businesses, non-profits and governments. On behalf of the people of Des Moines we appreciate your leadership in this difficult time.”