Legislators debate policies for small firm redevelopment funds

Lawmakers discuss policies for small business retraining funds

Business News: Legislators debate policies for small firm redevelopment funds.

Small Indiana businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, are one step closer to getting help from the state to be recovered from the pandemic.

On Thursday, a Senate committee consensually approved a bill, HB 1004, for a $ 30 million small business recovery program.

The legislation basically promotes a program created last year by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation with the help of COVID-19 federal aid money.

It is primarily aimed at companies in the hospitality industry and is limited to companies with annual sales of $ 10 million or less. Businesses must also show a monthly revenue loss of at least 30% to qualify.

Patrick Tamm is supporting Indiana restaurants and hotels. He said the subsidies may be too limited.

“There are a lot of restaurants around here that can barely stay afloat, that can barely pay the rent – they cross the $ 10 million mark,” Tamm said.

Under the bill, the grants could not exceed $ 50,000 for a company.

Senator Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) said he wanted to target the program to small businesses that need the most help.

“Either we drop the guardrails or we keep them,” Mishler said. “Because no matter how high the limit increases, the next group will say, ‘Oh, we just fell off that limit. Can you turn it up a little more? “

Senator Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne) expressed concern about how the grants would be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.

“It’s hard to get this information to people,” Brown said. “I would like to make sure that it is, perhaps, appropriately distributed to certain parts of the state, so that everyone has at least a chance to get some of it.”

The Senate commission made a significant change to the provision. According to the House version of the bill, the $ 30 million for the program would come from the state budget. But Mishler wants it to come from the remaining federal CARES Act funds that the state has not yet spent.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.