I was proud to sponsor the SAVES resolution (Save Austin’s Vital Economic Sectors), item 62, with Council Members Flannigan, Pool, and Tovo, along with the entire City Council.
Yesterday, the Austin City Council unanimously approved the resolution directing the City Manager to re-double efforts to identify new sources of funding and support for our most vulnerable local industries. Among them: live-music venues, childcare. etc.
Our city is in danger of permanently losing these key pieces of our civic infrastructure. They are among the hardest hit and most vulnerable businesses in our city. If lost, these are the kinds of businesses that will be difficult to replace. They are key to our culture, brand and our path to best recover from the economic disruption of the virus.
Austin, as with cities across the country, needs the federal government to act in the next few weeks to provide the economic relief at the scale of the challenge we face. Only the federal government has the capacity to help at that level. Nonetheless, we cannot only look to Washington, DC.
We’re doing and have done much locally – but the crisis we face requires us to look again and be more creative and innovative. We’ve been focusing on individuals with support for basics needs like rental and food assistance and those efforts will continue. We need to also focus on those businesses we might lose and on which so many in our community depend. The SAVES resolution commits us to doing and expanding this work.
What comes next:
City staff will look at all viable options for funding and relief and quickly report back to the City Council with their recommendations, setting up the Council to take immediate action to support these critical industries.
Our staff will look at more quick and interim ways to stand up an Austin Economic Development Corporation – a new quasi-governmental entity that would be able to more nimbly act and to best leverage the funds available to support these sectors.
What you can do:
- Call your member of Congress and US Senator. Urge them to pass the HEROES act which will bring cities more relief. There are not enough city resources to help everybody and every business that so desperately needs it right now. We need Congress to act.
- Support our live-music venues and artists – find and support some internet streaming performances!