Tahir Zukic has done enough servicing and cleaning of vehicles. After nearly two months of watching his TAZ Trucking company take a hit from the business-stifling measures put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Zukic wants his trucks and the nation’s economy to start rolling again.
Even though as an “essential” business TAZ Trucking has continued to function, Zukic said his company has been operating at about “25 to 30 percent” of normal business volume.
“A lot of our customers had to shut down, so we didn’t have anything to ship,” Zukic said. “We’re hungry to get going again.”
Zukic, a native of Bosnia who came to Bowling Green in 2000, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has helped him keep his drivers and mechanics on the payroll and keep his fleet in good shape.
“But,” he said, “that’s almost gone. We need to get back to work.”
Zukic’s impatience is shared by many Kentuckians who have watched other states begin to reopen their economic activity at a faster rate. Zukic is encouraged, though, that Gov. Andy Beshear has unveiled a “Healthy at Work” plan that should at least shift his business to a higher gear.
Beginning Monday, Beshear’s plan will allow manufacturing, distribution, supply-chain, construction, vehicle and vessel dealerships, office-based businesses, photography and horse-racing (with no spectators) to operate with some restrictions. Other businesses – including retailers, movie theaters, barber shops and restaurants – will have to wait a while longer for the governor to loosen the reins.
Those with a decidedly more laissez-faire approach to economics aren’t happy with the slow-and-steady approach taken by Beshear and other governors.
“The power grab of many governors has been outrageous and unconstitutional,” said Brian Strow, a Western Kentucky University professor of economics. “The last thing we need is the government picking economic winners and losers. You will see politically connected businesses getting the green light first. Just ask the racetracks.
“Our governor wants to protect our rights to buy liquor and lottery tickets but not the rights of small business people whose businesses are their livelihoods and their lives.”