Howard Schultz
(Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Former Starbucks CEO Endorses RESTART Act; Warns More Small Businesss Could Fold Without Relief

WASHINGTON — With Thursday’s failure by Congress to pass another attempt of coronavirus relief, the former CEO of Starbucks says lawmakers are “on the clock” before the consequences of having not passed more coronavirus relief become even more dire.

In a webinar streamed on YouTube by the American Enterprise Institute, Howard Schultz discussed the economic climate for small businesses in the United States with Colorado Democrat Sen. Michael Bennett and Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young.

“To put it in my own parlance, I would say that small business owners today need an economic bridge to the vaccine,” Schultz said. “You’re a small business and you actually got PPP, but it’s now expired. Your business today, at best, is about 60-percent of the revenue that it was pre-COVID.”

Howard Schultz in a webinar with the American Enterprise Institute:

Schultz said at 60-percent revenue a small business cannot be profitable. With that, Schultz is endorsing the RESTART Act as a way to put pressure on Congress to pass some sort of relief for small businesses and soon.

“If there is no relief, between now and the first of the year, my team and I have estimated that 30 to 40-percent of all small businesses (in the United States) will go bankrupt and fold,” said Schultz.

“That’s incredibly sobering,” Young said in response to Schultz’s prediction. “I hope it will catalyze Congress into bold action into passing the RESTART Act. This is personal for me.”

Schultz on future of small businesses:

Young authored the RESTART Act along with Sen. Bennett months ago. It has received co-sponsorship from a bipartisan group of 55 senators. Yet, it has still not been brought up for discussion or a vote as a stalemate on coronavirus relief continues between House Democrats and Senate Republicans.

It expands Paycheck Protection Plan loans for small businesses that are more forgivable for businesses that are worse off than others.

“If we don’t act then we will be sending individual workers on longer-term public assistance,” Young added. “And, we’re going to be taking out businesses off of the tax rolls.”

A point also made by Schultz who says small businesses drive local economies and help local governments generate revenue for public services. He says as more small businesses go away that’s less money going to local government.

Right now, there are no public plans by Senate leadership to bring the RESTART Act up for discussion.

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