Putting CARES Act Funds To Work: Getting Main Street Back on its Feet

“As the state has rolled out over $1 billion of the CARES Act monies to the individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, it became evident the group most overwhelmingly hurt during the pandemic were the small ‘mom and pop’ shops.”

Governor Kay Ivey

Susie Perez Quinn | Director, Government Relations

Governors are battling the effects of the coronavirus on all fronts: protecting and supporting public health, assisting those struggling with unemployment, and working to ensure that small businesses can weather the challenges of the pandemic. Even as states and territories must spend more money to meet these challenges, pandemic-related revenue losses are creating substantial obstacles and uncertainty to effective budgeting.

The passage of the CARES Act prevented an unprecedented economic collapse in the early days of the pandemic and provided much needed support for our nation’s small businesses. States, territories and certain localities received $150 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds that were immediately put to use to ensure that the small businesses that are the backbone of America’s economy could continue to prosper. While this aid was extremely helpful and states worked quickly and responsibly to expend it, more support is needed to continue our economic recovery.

“In the face of this unrelenting pandemic, many of these businesses have adapted with classic Maine grit and resilience but still face historic and unprecedented challenges…I continue to urge Congress to pass additional, robust relief for Maine people and businesses.”

Governor Janet Mills

Here are four examples of the effective stewardship shown by Governors using federal assistance in support of small businesses:

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced the state would allocated $100 million in CARES Act funding to the Business Interruption Stipend Program created by the state legislature during a special session, along with $7 million for the state to purchase PPE for businesses and state government. 

Governor Lamont of Connecticut has created a $50 million grant program to assist small business struggling through the pandemic.

Idaho is using $300 million of their CRF allocation to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19 who didn’t receive PPP loans. More than 30,000 small businesses have received this assistance so far.

Hawai‘i launched the Business Pivot Grant program in October. The grants will distribute $25M in financial and training support to struggling small businesses in Hawai‘i to help them adjust to marketplace changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide approximately 2,500 small businesses with reimbursement grants to cover expenses up to $10,000 that they incurred implementing changes to their operations, products and services.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy, and I’ve seen the determination and creativity these businesses have demonstrated as they pivoted from one way of working, to doing business in a completely different way. Companies that can pivot successfully will not only survive but thrive. This grant takes some of the pressure off these businesses and helps them to find new ways to operate in a drastically different environment.”

Governor David Ige