Wyoming passes additional relief bill
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect businesses of all sizes, the Wyoming House of Representatives put forth House Bill 104. This COVID-19 relief bill would help distribute funds associated with the CARES Act.
“In a state like Wyoming, small businesses are the backbone of the rural economy,” says Wyoming Business Alliance President Cindy DeLancey. “They are the fabric of many communities across the state. These small businesses work hand in glove with our major industries – agriculture, extraction and hospitality.”
“I really hope Wyoming businesses take advantage of these funds so they don’t revert back to Washington at the end of the year,” she says. “The Business Council is working hard to get emergency rules drafted and infrastructure in place to deploy relief grants as quickly as possible.”
Meat of the bill
“The meat of this bill sets up three categories of grants businesses can apply for,” explains DeLancey. “We are hoping this bill is signed by the governor soon.”
She continues, “This will help both the small business sector and agriculture sector, which are crucial to the state’s economy. We want to make sure when businesses are able to open back up, there are still businesses to open back up.”
DeLancey notes the first category in the bill is for businesses employing 50 or less people.
“These businesses can apply for a stipend ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 to help mitigate the impacts of government-related actions related to COVID-19,” she explains.
The second category is for businesses with 100 employees or less.
“There is some flexibility with this category as to whether there is cause for a business of this size to be included,” DeLancey says. “Among other criteria, the business must be headquartered in Wyoming.”
“The third category consists of an additional $50 million of assistance to cover protective equipment expenses,” DeLancey says. “These funds will help businesses get back on their feet and would reimburse businesses for protective equipment such as gloves, masks and hand sanitizer, as well as any training associated with COVID-19 protocols. This category allows for grants of up to $500,000 worth of reimbursement.”
The bill was passed on May 20 with line item vetoes.
According to a press release, “The governor exercised his line-item veto authority to address two elements of House Bill 1004. The first addresses the timing of the allocation of funds. Under the bill as written, the Legislature appropriated $325 million for these business relief programs, but required the entire appropriation be applied to the initial $450 million. This would limit the governor’s flexibility to address other urgent needs prior to July 15.”
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (USDT), “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27.
“This over $2 trillion economic relief package delivers on the Trump administration’s commitment to protecting the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19,” according to USDT. “The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses and preserve jobs for our American industries.
The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund.
According to USDT, USDT will make payments from the fund to states and eligible units of local government including the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories such as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Tribal governments.
The CARES Act requires the payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund only be used to cover expenses meeting the following criteria.
Costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID–19; were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020, the date of enactment of the CARES Act, for the state or government and were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on Decc 30, 2020.
The Paycheck Protection Program is also a part of the CARES Act and is being administered by the Small Business Administration.
“The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act, is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury,” according to the USDT. “This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses,” USDT notes.
Callie Hanson is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.