Michigan House Approves More Pandemic Grants for Businesses

A $185 million budget grant that received initial parliamentary approval on Thursday, would provide state incentives to gyms, movie theaters, and other companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The 96-6 vote in the House came more than a month after the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted $409 million in aid for businesses that lost money — funded with federal discretionary COVID-19 aid. Applications for those grants are due by April 1 and must be disbursed by July 1.

For more information on how you can get a grant and learn about refinance programs, access our database & search engine here.

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants, authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund on March 19, will be administered by 15 local and nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) around Michigan, covering all 83 counties in the state. These EDOs are responsible for reviewing applications of small businesses in their region and entering into agreements with eligible small businesses. Each EDO will establish a review committee that may include representatives from local workforce agencies, local SBDC representatives, business and nonprofit leaders, among others. The full list of EDOs administering Michigan Small Business Relief grants and the counties they will serve is below.

Local and nonprofit EDOs across Michigan applied for the grant funds and were selected based on capacity to administer the program and ensure coverage to small businesses in all 83 counties in Michigan.

The $10 million in loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be referred to the MEDC from the local EDO partners where it will be reviewed by a loan review committee including the Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development Projects. All loans made through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be approved through Michigan Strategic Fund delegated authority.

“We know small businesses across the state are struggling right now, and we are leveraging every resource available to provide relief in the face of these challenging economic circumstances,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “The Michigan Small Business Relief Program will provide immediate assistance to support the health and sustainability of the state’s small businesses, communities, and residents.”

For more information on how you can get a grant and learn about refinance programs, access our database & search engine here.

The MEDC anticipates that at least 1,100 businesses across the state will benefit from this program.

Fitness centers will receive $53 million, convention and visitors bureaus will receive $30 million, community development financial institutions will receive $25 million, movie theaters will receive $18 million, and businesses selling tickets to live music or entertainment events will receive $6.5 million. There is also $10 million to assist train and certify waiters at establishments that offer alcoholic beverages.

The next round of proposed grants, which also would be paid for with federal funds, would go to fitness centers, convention bureaus, community development banks, cinemas, and live music and entertainment venues. The bill would also offset lost revenue if separate legislation is passed to waive 2022 liquor license renewal fees and refund licensing fees for workers and restaurants hampered by past pandemic orders.

For more information on how you can get a grant and learn about refinance programs, access our database & search engine here.

Businesses should go to https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/ to apply.

“We still have job providers and workers suffering from the economic consequences of government shutdowns and the slow return back to normal. It has hurt many industries across our state, some more than others,” said the sponsor, House Appropriations Committee Chair Thomas Albert. The Lowell Republican said the $185 million is “exactly how we should be using these federal relief dollars that are available to the state.”

The measure would cap the maximum grant to a fitness center at the sum of modified occupancy costs in 2020 — including rent, insurance, and equipment taxes — or $250,000, whichever is less. The maximum grant to a live venue would be $100,000. Cinemas would get $15,000 per screen.

Democrats in the GOP-controlled House unsuccessfully tried to add $1 billion in funding that would give bonuses to frontline workers, bolster an affordable housing program, provide grants to artists and museums that were impacted by the coronavirus, and let nonprofits such as the YMCA also qualify for aid in addition to for-profit exercise facilities.

“Supporting the hardworking people who continue to keep us safe, our shelves stocked and stores open is not a hard choice,” said Rep. Alex Garza of Taylor.

The state sent more than $240 million to over 25,000 small businesses following earlier rounds of pandemic funding, with nearly 75% of the support going to restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses in the service industry, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.

Businesses should go to https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/ to apply.

For more information on how you can get a grant and learn about refinance programs, access our database & search engine here.

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