Support On the Way for MS Small Businesses
Wednesday, May 13th, the State House & Senate passed a historic, bipartisan $300 million small business relief bill (S.B. 2772) for businesses impacted by COVID-19. This is the first allocation of the $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds Mississippi received as part of the federal CARES Act. The relief programs (outlined below) would be for businesses that existed before March 1 and have 50 or fewer employees. Businesses that work in partisan politics or in lobbying are not eligible to apply. It now moves on to Governor Tate Reeves for signing.
Included in this bill is aid for Mississippi small businesses as follows:
Phase I: $60 million
- $2,000 Relief Checks – All businesses (< 50 employees) that filed Mississippi state income taxes in 2018, 2019, or eligible businesses who intend to file for 2020, and who were subject to any COVID-19 related state, municipal, and/or county required business closure or voluntary closure will receive a $2,000 relief check- no application required. Businesses covered in this phase include clothing stores, dance studios, barber shops, salons, restaurants, etc.
Phase 2: $240 million
- Relief Grant Program – All businesses (<50 employees) that filed Mississippi state income taxes in 2018, 2019, or eligible businesses who intend to file for 2020, and suffered any interruption in businesses due to COVID-19 may apply to receive up to $25,000 in grants to cover payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage interest payments and other eligible expenses incurred during the the COVID-19 outbreak. Approved applicants under this program will receive a base payment of $1,500 and can either (1) receive an additional $500 per full-time equivalent employee OR (2) itemize eligible expenses on the application form.
- Additional notes on Phase 2
- Businesses that receive checks under Phase 1 are still eligible to apply for Phase 2 relief without restriction.
- Businesses that did not receive federal PPP funds will receive priority for the first 21 days of the program. After that period, businesses that received PPP funds will be allowed to apply, with a portion of their state aid offset based on the amount of the PPP loan.
- For the first 60 days, $40 million will be reserved for minority-owned businesses.
- Grants awarded will not be subject to tax.
Both programs will be administered by the MS Development Authority which is already working to get Phase 1 payments sent to eligible business owners without delay.
Finally, we want to give a special thank you and recognition to our Senators and Representatives who represent Greater Hattiesburg. We have a strong delegation that advocates for our region in Jackson and it’s their hard work and leadership that has helped ensure our small businesses are getting this critical support!