By AJ Dixon
Owner of Lazy Susan Milwaukee
These past two years have taken a toll on businesses around the country, as we’ve had to adapt to one crisis after another. More often than not, it can feel like small businesses and working people have been left behind. But in Wisconsin, we’re bucking the trend, and small businesses are sprouting up on main streets across the state. The reason is simple: Governor Tony Evers has been doing the right thing for businesses like mine.
At my restaurant, we faced a lot of challenges during the pandemic, just like everyone else. But we were able to keep our employees on payroll and off unemployment because of the loan we received through the Paycheck Protection Program. Because of Tony Evers’ tax cut for small businesses who had to take out loans during the pandemic, we were able to keep more of our hard earned money, and didn’t have to worry about paying taxes on the help we received.
Thanks to Governor Evers, Wisconsin has a budget surplus, low unemployment, and our economy is primed for continued success. He’s invested over $1 billion to support small businesses, farmers, and tourism in our state. Gov. Evers has supported more than 100,000 small businesses, and more than 4,200 small businesses have opened up new storefronts on main streets across our state.
Governor Evers is ensuring Wisconsin continues to be the small business powerhouse of the midwest. In fact, an analysis ranked Wisconsin first in the nation in aid allocated to businesses.
Governor Evers’ Main Street Bounceback Program — which provides $10,000 grants to new or expanding small businesses — has helped open or expand more than 500 small businesses in Milwaukee County. That’s more than $5 million to Milwaukee County’s small business community.
Governor Evers is also prioritizing equity in the funds that are given out. He recently announced $86 million in grants to help small businesses in communities that have historically had limited access to capital and are owned by members of communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As a part of that program, the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation, Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, and Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC) each received $5 million.
Governor Evers gets it — small businesses power our communities and our economy. Nearly half of Wisconsinites are employed by a small business, and 99.4% of Wisconsin’s businesses are small businesses. Our small business community is strong, and we work really hard to be successful, but we still need support to thrive in a quickly changing economy and environment. It is critical that our leaders support small businesses and make filling local jobs a priority when it comes to state resources.
We need a governor who is focused on making our state stronger — Governor Evers understands that the way to do that is by supporting our small business community. I hope all of our leaders follow his lead and uplift our hardworking small businesses in everything they do – our state depends on it.