Atlanta-based Rubicon is urging Congress to include independent waste haulers among business owners who will require relief in any stimulus bill enacted by the federal government.
In a March 20 news release, the recycling technology platform company and its CEO Nate Morris say, “Congress cannot ignore [the] nation’s independent waste haulers” in any COVID-19 relief package that is voted on by the legislature.
Independent waste haulers have been hard hit by the outbreak, though they are “on the front lines of ensuring the nation’s ongoing health,” writes Morris in a letter he has sent to President Trump, some cabinet secretaries and to what he calls Congressional leaders.
“As the COVID-19 public health emergency unfolds across the United States and the world, life as we know it is changing in new and challenging ways,” Morris says in his letter. “The American economy is threatened, as is the health of every citizen. We are all being asked to find ways to contribute to the recovery while simultaneously adapting to a new way of engaging with our families, colleagues and community.”
According to Morris, as thousands of businesses that make up these independent hauling companies’ customer base are shuttered, haulers are experiencing an unprecedented strain on their bottom lines. “The risk to these small businesses going bankrupt is real, and they need immediate help to maintain operations and ensure that they will survive this crisis,” he writes. “Most importantly, our society needs these businesses to remain operational because our country and communities cannot afford an additional threat to public health caused by uncollected waste and recycling.”
Morris suggests a “four-point plan” that should include the following measures pertaining to companies in the waste and recycling sectors:
- providing Small Business Administration grants that extend beyond the restaurant and retail sectors, for those that are directly impacted by the trickle-down effect of mandated closures;
- expanding the Small Business Interruption Loan program to provide for 12 weeks of payroll loans, rather than the current six weeks for such loans;
- lowering the percentage threshold from 10 percent unemployment to 5 percent unemployment for states to receive assistance in processing unemployment claims from the recently appropriated $1 billion emergency grants; and
- temporarily reducing or eliminating both the employer and employee portions of the payroll tax.
“While so many of us are self-isolating and retreating from this spreading virus, the women and men who own these independent waste and recycling companies, and the people they employ, are working in our communities,” Morris adds. “As an ‘essential service,’ these haulers must continue to keep our cities and towns sanitary by driving their routes and providing daily pick-ups. It is a thankless task—especially in times like these—but it is vital to ensure the public’s health.”