As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, state and local governments are looking at the best ways to mitigate and respond to the ever-changing epidemic. Many governments have seen their citizens unfortunately deal with lower standards of living and are looking to government decision makers to help.
It is clear more needs to be done to assist our communities as they reopen and phase in their economies. Specifically, we need to support economic development professionals who are leading these efforts.
At the Ridge Policy Group, a government relations firm, we have enjoyed working with economic development entities for years. Even prior to the Ridge Policy Group, Governor Ridge was a staunch supporter of economic growth.
In his role as Governor, Ridge prioritized efforts to attract businesses to Pennsylvania through his initiative, Team Pennsylvania. He also empowered the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to implement wide ranging programs in job retention and creation. He created the Life Sciences Greenhouse Initiative and increased funding to the Ben Franklin Technology Partners to spur on life sciences and technology-based job creation within the state. Governor Ridge and our team understand the need for good, thoughtful economic development policies and enjoys advocating for these issues.
We have been grateful to partner with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest trade association for economic development professionals and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), who represents nation’s regional development organizations. We advocate for federal economic development policies on Capitol Hill and throughout the Administration.
The current economic impact of COVID-19 can be felt across the United States, in small towns, big cities, and in the rural areas. We know industries and small businesses alike are hurting.
We also know the federal government has a plan to assist communities post disaster, The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF). The NDRF identifies the Department of Commerce, through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), as the lead federal agency on the economic Recovery Support Function (RSF). The mission of this function, as defined by the NDRF:
“The mission of the Economic RSF is to integrate the expertise of the Federal Government to help local, State and Tribal governments and the private sector sustain and/or rebuild businesses and employment, and develop economic opportunities that result in sustainable and economically resilient communities after large-scale and catastrophic incidents.
Congress did appropriate funding to EDA in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. However, it is clear now that a great and growing need to support our economic recovery requires an additional investment in EDA.
Without additional funding, Economic Development Organizations (EDOs), and other economic development professionals charged with leading our nation’s economic recovery efforts, will no longer have the capacity to carry out their important functions. With the help of Senators Gillibrand and Tillis, we are advocating for this additional funding and programmatic reforms for EDA, as outlined in the bipartisan letter the Senators sent.
As Congress negotiates a future COVID-19 response package, we continue to beat the drum for economic development programs and policies. We know this additional funding will allow for communities to build back stronger more resilient economies as we look to recover from the current public health crisis.
This article was written for Ridge Policy Group by Becky Corby. Becky manages most of our economic development lobbying activities. Ridge Policy Group is honored to be one of the top government affairs firms with expert economic development and tax lobbyists. Ridge Policy Group is also one of the top lobbyists in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.