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BPAA State Policy Update - July 24, 2020

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COVID-19 Updates and Tracking


Small Business News

  • Gov. Wolf calls for a raise on PA minimum wage HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Governor Tom Wolf has called upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly to raise the state’s minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage has been $7.25 since July 24, 2009. It raised to that point in 2009 because the minimum wage at the federal level increased. Gov. Wolf said that across the state many workers are on the job and earning poverty wages. “Many of them are essential workers, who throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have gone to work and put themselves at risk to provide the services all of us rely on,” he said. Twenty-nine states in the U.S. have a higher minimum wage than Pennsylvania. The minimum wage for neighboring states is as follows:
    • New York: $11.80
    • New Jersey: $11.00
    • Maryland: $11.00
    • Ohio: $8.70
    • Delaware: $9.25
    • Virginia: $7.25
    • West Virginia: $8.75
    • “It’s ridiculous that a Pennsylvanian earns less for the same job than someone in West Virginia, Ohio or New York,” Wolf said. “Pennsylvanians are known for our tremendous work ethic, but too many of them, especially our essential workers, can’t afford their basic needs. That must be unacceptable to all of us.” Read the full article at WKBN



  • Reopening New Jersey: Murphy announces NJ Small Business Lease Program LONG BRANCH, New Jersey (WABC) -- Governor Phil Murphy announced a new relief program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Lease - Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBL-EAGP) will allow businesses in 64 eligible municipalities to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for lease costs. The program will also assist landlords, many of whom are also small businesses. "We are committed to helping small businesses across our state survive this unprecedented crisis," said Governor Murphy. "A stronger and fairer New Jersey starts from the bottom up. The Small Business Lease - Emergency Assistance Grant Program will infuse much needed funding into local economies by assisting both small businesses and the landlords that they rent from."
    • Community Affairs and Board Chair of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. "Governor Murphy and I remain as committed as ever to supporting New Jersey's small businesses and this new lease program will work hand-in-hand with other state assistance programs to help them emerge from this crisis stronger."
    • The SBL-EAGP will provide grants to:
      • - Tenants leasing commercial space in mixed-use buildings
      • - Tenants leasing space in commercial buildings
      • - Tenants leasing space to operate a storefront business
    • The program will be targeted to businesses with 5,000 square feet of leased space or less, and is requiring standard debarment and legal qualifications from applying businesses. Applications will open August 10, 2020, online, and funds will be distributed on a first come first served basis. $6 million in federal CARES Act funding will be allocated for this program. Read the full article at ABC 7


  • More than 27,400 businesses applied for small business relief in MN The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced recently that it has completed the lottery drawing for the winners of the Small Business Relief Grant Program. The program will award $10,000 grants to small businesses that have suffered financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was passed with bipartisan support in the Minnesota Legislature during the 2020 1st Special Session and signed into law by Governor Tim Walz. “Small businesses across our state have faced immense hardships due to COVID-19,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “This has been a truly coordinated effort across state government and our nonprofit partners to quickly get these dollars out to businesses in need and help our communities, and we’re pleased to say that the support is coming soon.”
    • More than 27,400 individual businesses applied for grant funding, including:
      • 9,740 women-owned businesses (35% of all applicants);
      • 5,535 minority-owned businesses (20% of all applicants);
      • 1,340 veteran-owned businesses (5% of all applicants);
      • 19,197 businesses with six or fewer employees (70% of all applicants).
    • As required by the authorizing legislation, winners were selected by a randomized selection process. This process was conducted in consultation with the Minnesota Lottery to ensure accuracy, and the lottery drawing was observed by staff from the Minnesota Lottery and Minnesota Management and Budget.
    • DEED has provided initial lists of grantees to the qualified local and regionally based nonprofit organizations, which will now evaluate and conduct eligibility verifications for the grantees. The grants can be used by eligible grantees for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills and other similar expenses that occur or have occurred since March 1, 2020, in the regular course of business. Businesses will be contacted directly by the nonprofit charged with administering their grant. DEED anticipates being able to provide a complete list of the Small Business Relief Grant Program grantees by late August.
    • An additional component of the authorizing legislation was the Cultural Mall Operator Grant Program, which will award grants up to $250,000 to Minnesota-based operators of privately owned, permanent indoor retail space and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis. DEED will provide additional information about these recipients in late July. Read the full article at Hometown Source


  • Businesses, nonprofits can now apply for Michigan Small Business Restart Program LANSING, Mich. (Press Release) - Michigan’s small businesses and nonprofits working to recover from the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 virus can now apply for grants of up to $20,000 through the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday. The program will provide $100 million in economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses and nonprofits and in turn, help support workers and their families facing economic uncertainty during the outbreak. Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria and program guidelines are available at // “The Michigan Small Business Restart Program puts federal funding to work for small businesses in Michigan hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19, helping to ensure they can keep their doors open and put critical protections in place for their workers and their customers,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Families across the state depend on small businesses for their livelihood, and this program will build on additional COVID-19 business relief efforts offered by the MEDC to create a strong foundation for Michigan’s long-term economic recovery.”
    • Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on July 7, the Michigan Small Business Restart Program allocates $100 million of federal CARES Act funding to provide support to Michigan’s small businesses and nonprofits that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The funding will be distributed across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state for grants up to $20,000 to support certain small businesses and nonprofits that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
    • The Michigan Small Business Restart Program application period will be live through Wednesday, August 5 at // and all applications received during that three week period will receive consideration; grants will be awarded after the close of the application period based on criteria that are defined by the EDOs. Funds can be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses. The MEDC anticipates that more than 5,000 businesses across the state will benefit from this program. Read the full article at Michigan Source
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