WASHINGTON – Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH) is applauding the announcement made last week by Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague of a grant program proposal that would provide relief to Ohio’s small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for the grant program would come from more than $4.5 billion made available to the state of Ohio through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, established by the Balderson-supported CARES Act.
“The pandemic has created uncertainty for the livelihood of nearly 150,000 Ohioans in my district who are employed by small businesses,” said Balderson, a member of the House Committee on Small Business. “This kind of grant program is exactly what Congress had in mind when we established the Coronavirus Relief Fund; I hope it can provide quick relief to Central Ohio’s small business community.”
Treasurer Sprague’s proposal calls for $100 million of the remaining Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation to be put toward this streamlined, reimbursement-based grant program, which would provide much-needed support and relief to Ohio’s job creators severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
“At every turn, our small business community has confronted COVID-19 and its many challenges with resilience, grit, and creativity,” said Sprague. “But the long-term effects this pandemic will have on our economy remain unpredictable. There’s still time to take action and utilize a portion of Ohio’s CARES Act allocation to provide added support to our job creators. I commend Congressman Balderson’s work to support Ohio’s small businesses, and I’m proud to stand with him in advocating for them.”
The proposal has already garnered support from several of Ohio’s leading business associations, including the National Federation of Independent Business, Ohio and the Ohio Restaurant Association, whose members continue to be adversely impacted by the challenges and uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) included in the CARES Act has provided temporary relief for businesses that faced the onset of COVID-19’s many challenges, supporting 51 million jobs nationwide. Balderson worked to replenish these funds in April, and in July, his bipartisan legislation to extend PPP through August 8, 2020 was signed into law.
Balderson is pushing to reopen the program to ensure small businesses that weren’t able to previously access the funds can apply or reapply, and those that need additional funding may also apply. According to a July report from the National Federation of Independent Business, 71% of small business owners nationwide have used their entire PPP loan, while “46% of borrowers say they anticipate needing additional financial support in the next six months.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s official Coronavirus Relief Fund Guidance for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Governments states that federal CARES Act funds may be used for “expenditures related to the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.” This funding must be allocated and spent by December 31, 2020.