Just like many of you, I am concerned about the danger of this virus and have taken proactive steps for protecting those around me. I am also very concerned about the financial hardships facing many of our fellow residents and small businesses now and in the months ahead. We must open Ashtabula County soon. Our mantra should be, as much freedom as possible, as much restriction as necessary.
On Thursday I signed Ashtabula County’s 2nd Amended Certificate for Revenue Projections for 2020. I forecasted a drop in Auditor-responsible County Revenue of $2.3 million dollars—a 13% decline. Our appropriations saw a decrease of $2.7 million, or roughly 12% of County Revenue, gone.
Why does this matter to you? I projected a decrease in our 1% Sales Tax of $2.06 million (a 19% decrease). That means $206,000,000 less in economic activity in Ashtabula County this year. That is $206 million that is not going to our small businesses, retail shops, car dealerships, and not being funneled through restaurants, home improvement, or furniture stores. That’s 19% of our local economy—19% of our friends, families, neighbor’s ability to provide for their household—gone. This could create a cycle of more unemployment, closed businesses, and greater poverty. I pray I am wrong.
Mine is not a concern about profits, but of livelihoods. We all know those who support their family through self-employment or working at a small business; these people make up a majority of Ashtabula County and are being most directly impacted and are at the highest risk of closing their doors.
I share this information not to scare you or take away from the seriousness of the pandemic. I bring your attention to the potential local economic harm to inform you and offer another perspective. If we have learned one thing this past month, it is the strong importance of community.
Once the stay-at-home order is lifted, our county must not only be careful of our health, but we must also protect our community businesses and local employers. They are the key for providing opportunity, well being, and life. The virus has caused so much loss already, we cannot allow the livelihoods of many in Ashtabula County to also fall victim.
I will continue to keep you informed and updated by sharing information and serving as a resource to you. The three most comprehensive resources currently available for individuals and businesses are from the IRS (https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments), the State House (http://www.ohiohouse.gov/resources/covid-19-resource-guide), and the Governor’s Office (https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/employers-and-employees/Resources-for-Individuals-and-Families/resources-for-Individuals-Families). Please do not hesitate to contact our office for help.
Ashtabula County Auditor