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Austin is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit. While we were recently listed as the number 1 place in America to start a business, but there are signs that it is getting harder to start and to grow a small business, especially for our communities of color. There are numerous studies showing disparities in small business lending, access to credit, and dealing with regulatory burdens.  Many of our local businesses are under threat as gentrification sets in and property taxes skyrocket.  On top of all this, the COVID19 pandemic is affecting small businesses in a variety of ways. From the loss of business to disruption in operations, businesses are navigating an uncertain future.

Small Businesses are the Backbone of Austin’s Economy

As a council member for District 2, and for all Austin business owners and operators, I will work to ensure certainty and fairness in city policies.


Promote Existing City Programs to Help Small Businesses

Austin’s current programs to assist small businesses are underutilized. Many in our community are not aware of the resources available. I will proactively reach out to owners and promote relevant programs, including the small business directory featuring local, state, and federal programs available, the City of Austin’s Business Expansion Program, and the City of Austin's Get Back In Business program.

help business navigate COVID19

Streamline City Permitting Processes

I support the Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (“SAVES”) resolution (being voted on 9/17/20) calling on city staff to leave no stone unturned in economic support for businesses to withstand the pandemic and economic downturn. I believe this should include exploring rent abatement or cancellation options for restaurants, bars, hospitality, childcare centers for a period of time (3-12 months)

Businesses and residents alike find it difficult to navigate the City of Austin permitting system.  We can draw upon best practices to streamline the system, bringing in increased revenue and better serve our business community and residents. We should also explore reducing or eliminating permitting fees amid the pandemic.

Relax Requirements that Penalize

We have a racial wealth divide in Austin. Black and Latino entrepreneurs face many barriers when it comes to turning a great idea into a business. I support relaxing or eliminating requirements that penalize entrepreneurs based on their lack of collateral or credit scores in order to qualify for City business loans or grants.

Highlight Small Business of the Month

I commit to continuing to highlight local business on my social media platform and will encourage the City of Austin to do the same on official channels. Small businesses should receive recognition at City events. I believe we should also profile new businesses during the critical period after they open as that’s when word of mouth is most needed to establish a successful business.

Help Business Attract and Retain Employees

We have an uneven playing field when it comes to our economy. I support private-public partnerships providing industry-specific training for fast-growing industries ensuring these new businesses have the tools needed to attract and retain employees, and survive the first five years in business.

Establish a Latino Economic Policy Institute of Texas

In order for us to truly move the needle on the economic segregation we confront in Austin, we need a comprehensive economic research program to study critical policy areas affecting the Latino community. The Latino population has grown by nearly 2 million in the last decade and accounts for 36% of the population growth in Austin. I support the creation of the Latino Economic Policy Institute to produce useful policy-oriented research in the areas of employment/training, housing/community development, and private enterprise development. This will help us build a pipeline of practitioners and help us better understand how to build an economy that works for all.

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