Where's the "uncertainty" concern-trolling they love to bray about, now? Thousands of small businesses in New Jersey have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy and are counting on federal aid to reestablish themselves. But GOP obstructionist political point-scoring is putting them in very real peril.
The House finally passed a sliver of the $66.4 billion Sandy Disaster Relief package. According to Gov. Chris Christie it has been 66 days and counting since the hurricane and its victims have been waiting for federal relief. Democrats and Republicans came together to approve Katrina relief 10 days. John Boehner has promised a vote on remaining parts of the bill on January 15th, making victims wait 78 days (provided the vote passes, which is by no means assured since NY and NJ legislators cashed in their political chips with the previous Congress that just adjourned).
66 days and the wait continues. There is only one group to blame for this delay...— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) January 2, 2013
The Republican footdragging is not only preventing homeowner's from repairing their homes and having a roof over the heads and a heated house to live in. It is jeopardizing thousands of local businesses and putting local governments at risk.
The delay in billions of dollars in Sandy disaster aid is hurting the finances of scores of municipalities throughout the region and adding uncertainty for tens of thousands of small businesses in those towns.
Phil Kirschner, with New Jersey's Business and Industry Association, says the delay in federal disaster aid is adding to the uncertainty felt by small businesses. He says while every businesses in the state felt Sandy's impact, most can hope to make up for it going forward.
"But there are tens of thousands of businesses that this is a much larger — if it were a human being we were talking about — life threatening type event,"Kirschner said.
Particularly vulnerable he says are seasonal businesses linked to the Jersey Shore tourist economy. So far New Jersey has posted 100,000 unemployment claims that are directly related to Sandy, and 19,000 businesses sustained more than a quarter of a million dollars in Sandy-related damage.These are very real concerns for small businesses, and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands. The Republicans concern for the 'job-creators' doesn't seem to extend to true job-creators that aren't their rich corporate benefactors.
And the delay in aid is putting scores of local governments at risk of deteriorating bond ratings.
Bill Dressel, with the New Jersey League of Municipalities, says locals were told by state officials to spend whatever was required to prepare and clean up from the storm. He says they were guaranteed reimbursement through the federal aid. Now, with the failure of Congress to approve the Sandy bill, he says every day the aid is delayed means increased borrowing costs for local governments and their bond ratings are put at risk.Of course, the GOP is planning to try and let the United States government default over the debt ceiling so it's hardly surprising they'd let small municipalities lose their credit ratings. But the their hypocrisy concerning business 'uncertainty' couldn't be clearer. Small business and bond ratings - these are Republican pet concerns. Or so they say.
"When the dollars are not forthcoming, the lending institutions are going to start to get nervous. The bond rating institutions are going to start getting nervous," Dressel said.