East Providence mayor floats pandemic-funded gift cards for city businesses


play

EAST PROVIDENCE – Amid questions about who might get the $1 million in relief money that Gov. Dan McKee wants to split between the two cities hit hardest by the Washington Bridge disaster, East Providence Mayor Roberto DaSilva has come up with a potentially novel idea.

Heading to an unrelated news conference at the State House, DaSilva said only: “debit card.” Or gift cards.

Gift cards? How would it work?

The details have yet to be worked out, but here is how DaSilva described the potential use of his city’s $600,000 share of the $1 million total left in unspent federal pandemic dollars that McKee has asked the legislature to split between East Providence and Providence.

“The idea is to help those businesses that were most impacted. And it is going to be our job to identify which businesses … because all businesses were impacted differently,” DaSilva said. “Some saw a 40% loss. Some saw a 20% loss.”

Direct handouts would “take some work on our part … to identify which ones had the biggest loss so we can get the money to those who really were [most] impacted.”

He gave this example of how to direct the money: A debit card that needs to be spent within the city on businesses that were affected. The logic being, if someone gets a gift card for $25 or $50, and “you go to a restaurant, you are spending more.”

“Just an idea,” he said, but one he is looking at seriously.

His concern: Were East Providence to split the $600,000 McKee wants to give his city equally among East Providence’s 500 or so businesses, it would amount to a little over $1,000 each.

“Does that give them the kind of help that is going help them?” he asked. “Or do we come up with another program where we take that money and make it have a multiplier effect?”

What about Providence?

Asked the same question – what might your city do with the money? – Providence Mayor Brett Smiley’s spokesman Josh Estrella told The Journal: “Once the city has a better understanding of the rules and regulations around the funding, the city will develop a plan for use.”

The bigger picture

The uncertainty stems from McKee’s decision to move in a different direction after his initial plan to earmark $300,000 for direct grants to hard-hit businesses drew complaints that it was not enough.

In the more recent budget amendment he proposed to the legislature, he sought $600,000 for East Providence and $400,000 for Providence to be used for direct grants “or other business supports, to be determined by the local community.”

If the legislature goes along, another $300,000 would go to the Executive Office of Commerce for unspecified uses “as a contingency fund to potentially support any significantly impacted businesses outside of East Providence and Providence.”

“While the businesses in East Providence and Providence are the most directly impacted by the Washington Bridge reconstruction, effects have been felt statewide,” said Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner at that time. “Recognizing the critical role small businesses play in our economy, Commerce is dedicating $300,000 to support those affected across Rhode Island, reinforcing our commitment to our small business community.”

The proposed $1.3-million package is in addition to a $400,000 marketing campaign to “drive business back into areas impacted by the bridge.”



Source link

  • Related Posts

    Sotheby’s Bets on High-End Trading Cards with New Fanatics Partnership

    The partnership will kick off with the auction of a 1948 Leaf #79 Jackie Robinson card. Courtesy Sotheby’s A powerhouse duo is betting big on the market for high-end trading…

    Old MTG card sees 1000% price spike due to Eldrazi commander

    The price of foil copies of Magic the Gathering card ‘From Beyond’ has surged from $1.80 at the end of May to over $18, according to data on card trading website…

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You Missed

    Sotheby’s Bets on High-End Trading Cards with New Fanatics Partnership

    Sotheby’s Bets on High-End Trading Cards with New Fanatics Partnership

    Old MTG card sees 1000% price spike due to Eldrazi commander

    Old MTG card sees 1000% price spike due to Eldrazi commander

    Deeper Drops to $60K Levels on Cards Amid Looming Concerns About ‘Death Cross’

    Deeper Drops to $60K Levels on Cards Amid Looming Concerns About ‘Death Cross’

    SoFi Technologies’ stock price forecast: $10 on the cards?

    SoFi Technologies’ stock price forecast: $10 on the cards?

    Credit-Card Swipe Fees: Behind Visa, Mastercard Agreement to Cap Fees

    Credit-Card Swipe Fees: Behind Visa, Mastercard Agreement to Cap Fees

    Credit-Card Swipe Fees: Behind Visa, Mastercard Agreement to Cap Fees

    Credit-Card Swipe Fees: Behind Visa, Mastercard Agreement to Cap Fees