If the economic relief initiatives outlined by Maryland and federal officials over the last two weeks sound too good to be true, it’s because they are.
When the elected officials talk glowingly about all the state and country are going to help small businesses as well as citizens, it’s impossible not to be excited and optimistic. However, the devil is in the timeline of when these efforts will bring help. A month to six weeks was reported to be the wait time for applications to be reviewed through the governor’s new Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief’s Loan Fund, Grant Fund and Manufacturing Fund efforts announced Monday.
If those sorts of delays to merely review an application is the norm, the state will not help anyone. Two months before qualifying companies receive dire funding help will be too late. The economic disaster is here now. In six weeks to two months, most of the businesses in the most need will be shuttered, and all the employees will be unemployed.
Furthermore, the state is also not holding up to its promises on unemployment. Its taking applicants a week to 10 days to hear back from the unemployment office after filing online. In one week, 38,000 Marylanders filed for unemployment. Similar increases should be expected in the coming weeks as the mantra of doing more with less continues to play out among business operators. The system is clearly overwhelmed and unable to meet demands.
Of course, Maryland is not alone in its struggles to meet the workloads associated with this crisis. There are success stories to come, but the government must work more efficiently to rise and meet the needs of its people. Unfortunately, it’s not happening in Maryland and certainly not in the nation’s capital where partisan bickering continues to prevent a massive stimulus package from getting passed in quick fashion. The dollars being discussed need to be put back into the pockets of taxpayers to provide security as well as means to survive in the short-term.
Time is of the essence here for these economic relief efforts to be fruitful. Unfortunately, government does not work in an efficient fashion. We are all watching and waiting and hoping the relief efforts will truly help those who need it. At this point, they are not accomplishing anything. The proclamations of help sound great at press conferences, but until they actually start working they are just words and politics.