WASHINGTON, DC — While the CARES Act approved by Congress during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic provided a broad shot of financial help for individuals up to large businesses, there have still been reports of some small businesses that continue to struggle.
Montana Senator Steve Daines is hoping a bill he's co-sponsoring with New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker will help fill some of those gaps.
The Small Business Local Relief Fund would target $50 billion in economic relief to "seed and scale" relief funds for small businesses at the city or county level.
This time around, dollars are for businesses with fewer than 20-employees who may have been missed by the first round of payroll protection, and could come as grants, loans or professional support.
Daines say the relief is critical, since that's the size of 90-percent of Montana's businesses.
"The original PPP plan had 500 employees or less," said Daines. This is targeted at 20 or less to make sure the smaller businesses really have access to these resources. And then we would also move the decision making closer to where the loans would be administered."
"So down to the community level. Instead of something being driven by Washington, D.C. literally we'd move these funds out to the communities and let the communities administer those dollars to their small businesses," he added.
Daines says there's flexibility in the bill that should help Montana's outdoor industry, where guides and outfitters have been especially hard hit by the pandemic.