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Support Small Business + Fix PPP

This fight isn’t new — but it’s more urgent than ever.

If American small business is going to survive against big business, we need your help. 
As this crisis took hold, small businesses acted quickly to put the safety of our employees and communities first. And now, while the big guys with deep pockets barely blink, the small guys are scrambling to keep their heads above water. 
For years, small business has fought for its right to exist in a world of Big Boxes. We have watched Amazon stalk its way across our country, stamping out one vibrant small town after another, in the name of “convenience” and tax incentives for job creation. And with a pandemic now stretching our resources to their breaking point, we wonder — who is in our corner? It feels like the fight is fixed and the referee is absent. While everyone’s heads are turned, the Big Guys are aiming their fatal blow.

But we’re not down for the count yet.
 
 
To our government: you’ll miss us when we’re gone.

Small business is what keeps our communities alive. When main streets are vacant, once-vibrant cities fade. More unemployment and less tax revenue; more need but fewer helping hands. Local merchants go under, the network they support falters, and supply chains collapse. 
Remember that cardboard boxes on doorsteps don’t put jerseys on little league teams. Add to cart clicks from big companies don’t mean dollars for local non-profits or community newspapers — that’s us.  While small business owners are rallying to find ways to keep their employees paid, their customers served, and their vulnerable neighbors taken care of -- the Big Guys worry about their reduced profit margins, valuations, shareholder concerns, and how to PR their way through employee endangerment. 
We’re calling you out, government, for being at the beck and call of big business, paying for your soul and their seat at your table. We’re sick of the backroom politics that favor big business dominance. So how do you make it up to us? Level the playing field and give us all a fighting chance. Let us show you what bolstering a community from the bottom up looks like. Small brick and mortar businesses, especially, are falling through the cracks. There are a few essential things that would make all the difference:
  • We need a functioning and fast Paycheck Protection Program with oversight. Actual small businesses should be the only ones eligible for these funds, prioritizing those with under 50 employees total. Businesses with over 100K in profit in tax year 2019 are not eligible. Businesses with enough cash-on-hand or access to investor capital or big financing to weather the storm are not eligible. Plus: How do you make sure underrepresented populations have prioritized access? How do you make sure banks don’t just pick their biggest money makers? The system is flawed - fix it. 
  • We need grants, not loans. Small businesses need working capital to innovate, pivot business models, and reach customers safely. We cannot take on more debt while we’re unsure of what the future holds. As small businesses brace for a “reopen” - many will face putting their team at risk, mixed with reduced sales, and the added costs of safety protocols. We need grants to help us make things safe for our employees and our communities. 
  • We need full transparency in big business bailouts. Watch closer than in years’ past - no shareholder payments, no managerial raises, no recent buybacks. Better yet? Only provide bailouts for businesses that pay their top employee a maximum of 10x that of their lowest paid employee, inclusive of the value of non-cash benefits.  We’ve seen it before - handouts are given to the top businesses because they’re “too big to fail” - but why must our wealthiest be served first?
  • We need our public to be incentivized to spend with small businesses. For states that charge sales tax, we need a temporary reprieve from collecting sales taxes if your business employs under 50 employees, i.e. a three month tax holiday for small biz. South Dakota v. Wayfair laid the groundwork, but more must be done to incentivize the choice to choose small over big, as monopolies are permitted to operate among us.
  • We need stricter safety protocols and employee protections in huge retail warehouses. Thousands are currently working at great risk to ship many non-essential items (alongside items deemed essential). What risk is this posing to our public when they open these boxes? Smaller businesses, who can operate safely with fewer staff, should be allowed, and supported, to pick up the slack. Domestic manufacturers should be encouraged to adopt safety protocols to keep our supply chains moving towards supporting American made. 
  • We need a program to address mandated rent and mortgage abatement for businesses with under 50 employees. Landlords unwilling to share in the burden will lose tenants to bankruptcy and fail to gain new tenants, watching main streets become ghost towns. Explore escape clauses, no-contest lease terminations, and eviction prevention for those unwilling to offer concessions to struggling tenants. Banks should be incentivized to roll mortgages forward by request and pass this along to tenants. If we're "all in this together", landlords and banks must help tenants get through this. 

As business owners we are used to rolling with the punches. You might see this as just a small business owner whining about an unfair fight. But many of us are deeply concerned — not just about the coming weeks and months, but the coming years. This isn’t business as usual; our world won’t return to normal the second our leaders deem it “open.” As congress debates bailouts of multi-billion dollar industries, remember that failing to provide widespread relief to the small business sector first would be devastating and negligent. Nearly half of all Americans work for small businesses--we implore you to put small before big. 
Please, pledge to fight for small business.
 
 
To the public: we really need you in this fight with us.
 
It may seem at first like this doesn't concern you, but small businesses are a big part of the character of your community. We’re active in the obvious ways — like creating local jobs — but also behind the scenes. Do you love supporting local artists and photographers? Ever used the services of a non-profit? Read a local newspaper? Do you enjoy spending time in a bustling, vibrant downtown? You can bet your small business community had a hand in it.

It can be hard to know how to help, and we get that. But we guarantee that any way you can stand up for small right now makes a difference. Your local business community is racing to adapt, many of us creating brand new business models in a matter of days. So meet us halfway and give us a chance to prove ourselves. Got a spare 2 minutes? Contact your representatives to ask what they’re doing to support small business. These actions are deeply appreciated.
Small business is an engine of opportunity. We’re out here caring for our communities and spreading the wealth around...rather than up. We’re your neighbors. Even if we haven't met yet, we’re invested in you, too. We’re woven into the fabric of your community and we're determined to see it thrive.
This crisis has shown us just how vulnerable we are - and that vulnerability comes from channeling wealth to a small number of people at the very top. Supporting small business will lead us to a better tomorrow. We believe in small. 
 
So help us stay and help us fight. 
Pledge to celebrate small business, especially during this urgent time.
 
Please consider contacting your legislators today in addition to signing this petition. 
You can easily email your legislators with this easy to use website:  https://democracy.io/#!/
Sign the petition here: change.org/smallbusiness
Feel free to copy and paste the above letter, but please include #believeinsmall and @commondeer if you are posting on a social platform. 
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