Some small businesses move closer to getting access to part of $ 30 million COVID-19 subsidy program
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Senate Labor and Affairs Committee has unanimously introduced a bill to the entire Senate that would create a COVID-19 relief grant for small businesses.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Kirk Cullimore (R-Sandy), says eligible businesses must have started operations by January 1, 2020 and have fewer than 250 employees.
“The first window will be for companies that can demonstrate a 90% loss, and then there will be a few more qualifiers,” Senator Cullimore said.
The Utah Cultural Alliance says it needs help.
“We desperately need us,” says Crystal Young-Otterstrom. “Since COVID, we have suffered a loss of $ 76 million. “
Committee chair Senator Curtis Bramble (R-Provo) said the bill could potentially open the system to fraud.
“The virtual grounding of the economy may be linked to a COVID downturn if it is properly shot,” Senator Bramble said. This has been a real part of the problem for those most affected. ”
In July, the owner of a Utah trucking company has been charged in federal court with submitting a fraudulent loan application to obtain a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security).
Then in September, a 64-year-old man from Salt Lake City has pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud in information he provided when he applied for the paycheck protection program loan.
The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development said measures were in place to ensure the fraud did not happen again.
“They have to go through several fairly rigorous financial processes where they have to demonstrate financial statements,” says Kori Ann Edwards.
The Utah Culture Alliance says more help is needed now more than ever.
“Even if the restrictions were lifted today, we would still be unable to generate full income.”
There is already state and federal programs for small businesses that are struggling to make ends meet.