Retrieved from SACONNECTS.org
As part of the Coronavirus relief program, Governor Mike Dewine has proposed a 1 billion dollar plan that would help Ohio’s economy recover from the pandemic.
In March of 2020, Ashland, Ohio was a growing small city with numerous businesses beginning to expand. But without warning, Covid-19 swept across the nation, shutting down schools, corporations, and small businesses. Many people lost the progress that was gained in the previous months, as they did not have enough money to stay open after the shutdown.
“This is bridge money. We’re not out of this epidemic yet,” Dewine announced on Feb. 1, in the biennial Executive Budget for Ohio for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 report. “We don’t know what the future will bring. But this additional money will keep more people working as we move forward.”
Though this plan pertains to the entire state of Ohio, the question then turns to Ashland and how this money will help the community.
Ashland Mayor Matt Miller had enlightening proposals about where the money would go.
“I think our tax dollars are always best spent at the local level,” Miller said. “We will be able to find a way to utilize the money that is brought in to aid our local businesses.”
This money would not be the first aid that was used to help small businesses during the pandemic. Last year, the Cares Act gave Ashland $200,000 to provide small grants to help businesses stay afloat during these troubling times.
“We gave out forty, $5,000 individual grants for businesses,” Miller said. “Many of these businesses used the money to pay off mortgages and leases while their businesses were shut down.”
The handling of the Cares Act money would be an indication on where the spending would go, but as for now there are no details on how much money Ashland will receive. The proposed plan is still in its beginning stages, so it is possible that the plan will not be finished completely until the end of June.
According to Cleveland.com, there would be no tax increase in the bill, but car registration would increase by ten dollars as well as an additional two dollars for the state’s auto title fee. This increase in money is to aid the State Highway Patrol.
“The virus has continued to shock us, and continued to surprise us,” Dewine said. “We have to be prepared in case something comes up that is unforeseen and that we have to hunker down again.”
Miller emphasized the financial impact the pandemic has had to Ashland business, but is optimistic for the future.
“We all have worked so hard to revitalize our downtown and mainstreet,” Miller said. “The shutdown was very traumatic for our businesses.”
With the newly proposed bill from Governor Dewine, the possibility of coming out of the pandemic stronger than before is a sentiment Miller holds.