Holcomb signs bill expanding aid to small businesses hurt by pandemic

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Additional relief from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be on the way to Hoosier small businesses, as Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill Monday creating a grant program that extends and expands existing aid.

House Enrolled Act 1004 received unanimous support in the Senate, where funding was doubled, and then House lawmakers agreed with those changes by a 94-3 vote in early April.

The legislation, authored by Rep. Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper, will provide grants of $10,000 per month to small businesses, with a maximum award of $50,000. The funding could reimburse businesses for up to 80% of non-payroll expenses and 100% of payroll expenses between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021.

To qualify, a business must have fewer than 100 employees, gross revenue of less than $10 million in 2019 and prove a monthly gross revenue loss of at least 30%.

The program, administered by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., will be established to continue the small business grant program that Holcomb’s administration set up in June with Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding.

The Senate made several changes in the bill. The chamber decided to require the state to use federal CARES Act funding — instead of state dollars — and increase funding to $60 million from $30 million.

The $2.4 billion the state received from the federal government has either been spent or allocated, according to the state’s CARES Act dashboard. But $278 million listed under “economic support” has some flexibility. This is where the funding would come for the extended program.

Senators also allowed the IEDC to change any parameter of the program, but those changes must be reviewed by the State Budget Committee.

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