Many of us are already preparing for the residual economic damage from COVID-19 that is about to afflict every American community.
Uncertain days are ahead, whether it be citizens looking for jobs, businesses struggling to get back on their feet, or local and state governments striving to provide critical services as tax revenue drops. Some predictions suggest three years or more before the recovery is complete.
Yet, there is some good news. Prior to the crisis, the economy was strong. So state and local leaders can stand on firm ground as they fashion their recoveries.
Recovery planning is a moment for communities to challenge themselves by welcoming substantive change. Change can mean building a more diverse, resilient and inclusive community, places where personal and economic health is easier to realize and maintain.
The federal government can afford its massive relief effort due in part to low-interest rates and built-up international capital reserves. States, regions, and communities may also want to take advantage of these favorable economic indicators. This may be the ideal time to revisit public sector capital investment plans.
Consider establishing investment strategies to save and expand viable but vulnerable businesses. Increase the value of real estate with well-laid infrastructure, emphasizing the elimination of broadband deserts. Housing is another endemic problem that, executed correctly, saves and generates local dollars.
Many of us have been quoting Rahm Emanuel lately, namely “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” There is nothing good about this situation and it is not to be taken lightly. However, there would be some justice if we came out the other end better and stronger for the travail.
Vice President, Economic Development & Community Resiliency
Thomas P. Miller & Associates