Small Business Grants In Mississippi – Extra precautions are being taken in Mississippi’s state capital as the session resumes after a temporary shutdown due to the coronavirus
Mississippi’s Legislature last week passed bipartisan legislation committing $300 million in federal corona relief funds to small businesses.
Small Business Grants In Mississippi
That’s the question Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann wants the Mississippi Ethics Commission to answer. The eight-member commission discussed the matter in a special meeting Friday morning, but delayed a final decision until it can get more details next week, said Tom Hood, the commission’s executive director.
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Leah Rupp Smith, Hosemann’s deputy chief of staff, said several senators before and during debate on the legislation asked if they themselves could participate in the small business grant program. Hosemann “indicated he didn’t think they could,” Smith said in a statement. “As chairman of the body, the lieutenant governor told members that he would seek input to accurately determine the boundaries of ethics laws.
Senate Bill 2772 includes two programs that would deny the $1.25 billion in funding Mississippi received from the CARES Act passed by Congress. About $60 million will be automatically sent to 29,000 small businesses in industries forced to close by Gov. Tate Reeves’ stay-at-home order. They receive $2,000 each.
The remaining $240 million will be distributed through grants of up to $25,000 that small businesses will apply for through the Mississippi Development Authority. The funds will first be directed to companies that have not already received money from the federal corona aid.
Reeves signed the bill into law this week, and the application and distribution system is still being set up.
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The legislation specifically states that lobbyists, businesses that hire a lobbyist or those involved in partisan political activities cannot apply for the program. But the bill said nothing about the people who passed the law. It is not clear how many MPs would be interested in applying, although many are involved in small businesses for their day jobs. Small businesses across the country have faced a major downturn in business due to the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders.
State law and past Ethics Commission opinions generally caution against lawmakers using their influence or votes on issues that would directly benefit them or their family members.
The bill’s author, Sen. Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg, said he has no plans to apply himself, but has heard questions from a number of senators and representatives about whether they could apply for the aid funds. He said he told them to clear it with the commission.
“I’ve heard voices about whether it’s constitutional for lawmakers who have small businesses to apply for a grant,” added Sen. Derrick Simmons of Greenville, the Democratic leader.
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Hood said the commission was “asked to expedite” the small business grant opinion request, which is why it held the meeting Friday, ahead of the normally scheduled June 5 meeting. The commission is expected to vote on the next question. On Friday, after receiving more information about how the development authority plans to allocate the money and create contracts, he said.
Membership of the Ethics Commission consists of appointments by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, and the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The Danish parliament plans to reconvene on Tuesday. Lawmakers left the Capitol on March 18 because of the coronavirus, but returned briefly twice to push through legislation to fund aid, including business grants.
On Tuesday, senators will be briefed by State Economist Darrin Webb and Department of Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson on the state’s economic outlook and revenue projections, which will take a major hit due to the virus.
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“We need to understand the economic impact of the shutdown and COVID-19 as best we can before we prepare a new budget,” Hosemann said in a statement. Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program The Small Business Administration (SBA) sent this newsletter on 11/11/2020 7:02 PM EDT
On May 20, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves signed SB2772 into law establishing the Mississippi Return to Business Grant Program. The grants will be used to help Mississippi businesses with 50 or fewer employees recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19, including operating costs and wages.
5. Has a controlling interest owned by one or more Mississippi residents, whether individual resident citizens or Mississippi domestic business entities
6. Filed Mississippi taxes for the 2018 or 2019 tax year or, for a qualified corporation formed on or after January 1, 2020, intends to file Mississippi taxes for the 2020 tax year, unless exempt under section 27-7-29 from Sec. 27-13-63 or other applicable statutory provision
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7. Has customers or employees who come to its physical premises, conducts business on the premises of the customer or has an owner who is an active participant in the day-to-day operations of the company
9. Is not a subsidiary of a company with more than 50 full-time employees; not part of a larger company with more than 50 full-time employees and not owned by a company with more than 50 full-time employees
10. Does not exist for the purpose of promoting partisan political activities, does not directly lobby federal or state officials as set forth in sections 5-8-1 through 5-8-23, and has not employed or otherwise worked with a lobbyist as defined in section 5-8-3 in any manner at any time in 2020
The support provided by S.D. Small Business Administration (SBA) for this activity, does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any donor, an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any donor, co-sponsor, sponsor, partner, participant, other person or entity. All SBA programs are extended to the public by a non-partner, participant, other person or entity. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. discriminatory basis. Kate Rawson feared losing her small business during the pandemic in late summer 2020, and like thousands of others, she applied for a Mississippi COVID-19 Back to Business grant – up to $25,000 to help small businesses to stay alive.
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But seven weeks after the application, Rawson was entangled in a web of red tape and received little information about his application despite numerous calls and providing the state with the information it sought. She had to lay off workers when business with her university advertising and direct marketing firm stalled. She talked to several neighboring businesses in Oxford in the same boat. Some had to close their doors forever.
Rawson finally got her grant — she won’t disclose the amount, but says it wasn’t the full $25,000 — only in mid-October, months after she applied for emergency aid meant to provide quick relief to struggling small businesses.
Rawson’s company survived. The business is up and running again, but it’s still a struggle. She knows of many small businesses that have abandoned emergency grants or taken a small minimum amount after being intimidated by the bureaucratic maze. Unfortunately, she can rattle off the names of several businesses — big and small — in her college town that didn’t survive the pandemic shutdown. And, she says, “it still happens, all the time.”
When Mississippi received $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act relief for the pandemic, one of the first things lawmakers did, in addition to fighting with Gov. Tate Reeves over who had the authority to spend it, was to set aside $300 million for emergency relief. for small businesses.
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But only about half of the money was spent, according to a Mississippi Today analysis of public records. The rest was diverted to other pandemic programs, such as subsidies for rental assistance, hospital and veterans aid, with most going to the state’s unemployment fund.
Business grants have ultimately helped thousands of small businesses. Legislative leaders said they were in uncharted waters with the program and under an extremely tight deadline imposed by Congress to spend the money. Other problems include thousands of businesses that haven’t paid their state taxes on time – a perennial problem in Mississippi. And the Mississippi Development Authority, which administered the largest grant program, has asked to be allowed to increase its administrative costs from $900,000 to $3.6 million so it can move faster and more smoothly. The MPs rejected this request.
“The Return to Business program has helped thousands of small businesses affected by the pandemic, such as retailers and restaurants, stay afloat,” said Lt. Delbert Hosemann. “Some of the companies that applied did not meet basic qualifications, such as timely submission of tax returns. Those who met the basic qualifications received much-needed help.
Late. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, said he has received several complaints from constituent business owners “who have been so frustrated with the process that they have given up and unfortunately in some cases lost their businesses.”
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“I think it was a colossal failure,” Simmons said. “And I’m really concerned about how many businesses have closed and never reopened.”
Representative Philip Gunn — whose House leadership team fought the business grants and pushed for millions more than the Senate finally agreed to — did not respond to requests for comment.
In the late summer of 2020, as business owners complained of problems getting grants, an analysis by the Hope Policy Institute found Mississippi lagging behind