In a Dec. 10 presentation to the Fort Worth Business Press, North Texas Commission President and CEO Chris Wallace said the commission is entirely focused at the moment on COVID-19 response and recovery for area businesses and local governments.
“What are we doing to address our most stressed industries?” Wallace said. “We must continue to have economic relief for major sectors, such as airports and aviation, hospitality, nonprofits, performing arts and small businesses.”
According to Wallace, the commission has partnered with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, which oversees a 16-county region in North Texas.
“We’re proud to be pulling all of the mayors together, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is co-chair of that council,” he said. “Mayors are meeting weekly to talk about consistent messaging and strategy to meet the needs and respond to COVID-19.”
The health of local populations is imperative for long-term recovery for the region, Wallace said, along with support for local municipalities and major industries in the area.
“These are job creator industries and sectors that our citizens rely on, and cities must be included in an economic relief package. They are the largest employers in many cities and regions,” he said. “We also must have a healthy population if we’re going to continue to recover economically.”
According to Wallace, a new COVID-19 relief bill before Congress is proposing $908 billion in COVID-19 assistance nationwide.
Of that number, an estimated $288 billion would be allocated for small businesses; $160 billion would go toward aid for local municipalities; $16 billion would be dedicated to health care, COVID-19 testing and contact tracing; and additional money would target technology infrastructure, student loans, transit access and the U.S. Postal Service.
“I envision there will be further Paycheck Protection Program loans available as well,” said Kelly Hein, a partner with accounting firm BKD. “The question is will it be for people who previously haven’t utilized a loan.”