Yesterday, the Ohio House passed legislation that included a new grant program seeking to offer aid to businesses impacted by the coronavirus. The bill, Senate Bill 310, dealt with a wide-ranging amount of issues relating to the appropriation of federal funding to the state via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
Included in this bill was an amendment added in the House Finance Committee regarding a grant program eligible for businesses employing less than 50 individuals. This program would be optional for local governments to administer, and the maximum amount for each grant is $10,000. It will be up to each local government to decide the qualifications for each grant, but it is stipulated in the amendment that at a minimum each applicant must provide:
• Name and address of business
• Number of individuals employed
• A detailed accounting of the business’s eligible costs
• The eligible costs for which the grant money will be used
This program has the potential to offset costs associated with the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. It serves as a continuation of the many programs, both at the federal level and at the state and local levels, that are geared specifically towards small businesses. It remains to be seen how many local governments will participate in this program once it becomes available, but there certainly has been a lot of interest in programs similar to this.
For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Save Small Business Fund, set up previously to assist our smallest of businesses, ran out of funding quickly due to the amount of applications. The same holds true for the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program. This program also utilized funding from the CARES Act and had plenty of interest from businesses in that area.
Small businesses have been among the hardest hit economically from the coronavirus and remain among the most vulnerable as it relates to them reopening. Programs such as the one included in SB 310, and others, have the potential to save small businesses. We look forward to this program becoming available and for Ohio small businesses to have access to desperately needed funds.