Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Sure enough, WisGOPs in the 715 ask for govt help in surviving this Winter. And only Dems answer them.

I had predicted last week that the warm winter was going to lead to calls to help out many businesses up North, as cold-weather tourism has been severely cut down this season. Sure enough, several Northern Wisconsin Republicans made their request to Governor Evers (on Monday).
Dear Governor Evers,

As members of the Legislature who represent portions of Northern Wisconsin, we’re respectfully asking you to work with the United States Small Business Administration to properly declare an economic injury disaster area for our areas of that state that are experiencing substantial economic injuries due to the lack of snow.

During the winter months, our Northern Wisconsin economy relies primarily on the tourism industry. From restaurants to lodging, and everything in between, our constituents need snow to attract the tremendous influx of traffic that comes with the snowmobiling season. When people visit our neck of the woods in the winter time, they aren’t just renting snowmobiles and hitting the trails, they’re staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, buying from our stores, and keeping the dollars flowing throughout the season. The lack of snow this year has left a tremendous hardship on our small businesses, which has the potential to destroy our Northwoods economy.

The United States Small Business Administration, upon the acceptance of a declared disaster area, can offer Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations. These loans provide the necessary working capital to help small businesses that are impacted by a disaster survive until normal operations resume. With generous terms and maturity options, these Economic Injury Disaster Loans could make or break our northern communities.

We appreciate you taking this request into consideration. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Within one day, we got a response.
Tuesday, Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has confirmed the agency will consider business losses from the winter to be related to drought and eligible for assistance.

Under the Economic Impact Disasters Loan program, businesses could borrow up to $2 million to cover their actual losses. They would pay no interest on the loans for the first year and a maximum rate of 4% for the rest of the loan period.
That’ll at least allow a better chance for these businesses to make it to the Summer tourism season, which these businesses deserve when they’re damaged due to circumstances beyond their control.

Two people I didn’t see asking for aid to Northern Wisconsin? Congressman Tom Tiffany, who “represents” most of the state north of Highway 29, and US Senator Ron Johnson. They’ve spent a lot of time on their social media going on about immigration that’s happening 2,000 miles away from Wisconsin (without any solutions, by the way), but have said nothing about the weather-related economic damage that has hit their constituents. Priorities, you know.

I have yet to see the state’s sales tax receipts for January to see if the lack of winter tourism is having an unforeseen impact on the state’s budget, and we won’t see similar effects in the county sales tax distributions until March (it’s usually a 2-month lag). But given that temps are expected to get even warmer in the next week, it sure seems likely that it is a bust in a key sector of Wisconsin’s economy for late 2023 and early 2024. I just hope that the SBA aid and related measures are able to stop the bleeding and make sure any damage is temporary without significant losses in either jobs or tax revenue.

I was guessing that the WisGOP legislators from up North wouldn't even mention that their constituents are getting help largely due to the quick work of Democrats like Tony Evers and Tammy Baldwin. But to their (minor) credit, they did mention both of them in their release today.....along with some whining about Marinette and Forest Counties not being in the disaster declaration.

But you'll notice that what those state Republicans won't mention is how WisGOPs in Washington said and did nothing while those in the 715 had to deal with this historic and damaging winter season, and that it's only Dems that stepped up to use real resources to fill the void.

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