How COVID-19 Relief Unmasked a Double Standard

Texas longest-serving Governor and former Energy Secretary, Rick Perry partnered with Vista Bank President and CEO John Steinmetz to co-author an op-ed unmasking the double standard in stimulus bill COVID relief fund efforts. Published in Business Insider, the op-ed contrasts the hoops that businesses had to jump through with participating banks, interest rates, fluid forgiveness and tax rules with city and state municipalities often receiving handouts with no prerequisites for funding, and no expectation of repayment. Snippets are here and you can read the op-ed in its entirety at the link below.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the US economy, Congress is preparing another round of stimulus funding. In addition to helping stabilize the country’s economic situation, the  trillions of dollars that are being injected into the economy have also exposed a double standard.  

We share from both public and private sector perspectives. As the longest-serving Governor of the State of Texas, who had to manage a balanced budget on taxpayer dollars and as a community banker whose bank has served Texas entrepreneurs since 1912, both of us have grown increasingly concerned that while cities receive money from Washington without any strings attached, business owners have to jump through hoop after hoop to do the same. 

In the upcoming relief bill, Congress should look more at replicating previous small business relief and loan programs and less at writing a blank check to financially mismanaged municipalities. Programs like the PPP and MSLP should be given priority over bailouts for bankrupt cities and states. And money that is given to local governments ought to be tied to long-overdue reforms and include the same oversight as private-sector relief programs.

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