Senate Democrats urge Gov. Justice to call special session over small business assistance

West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Charleston, applauds opening remarks during day of the state legislative session, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia’s Democrat Senate sent a letter to Governor Jim Justice today, urging him to convene a special session to allow the legislature to provide immediate cash assistance to West Virginia small businesses. 

West Virginia received $1.25 billion in funding from the federal government as part of the CARES Act, earmarked for expenses incurred due to COVID-19 response efforts. Democrats recommend that $500 million be set aside to fund emergency cash assistance grants for small businesses in the state employing ten or fewer people.

“Small businesses are at a breaking point, and according to the Small Business Administration, they employ half of the state’s employees. If these small businesses don’t receive financial assistance in the next two weeks, they may close their doors forever,” said Senator Bob Plymale (D-Wayne). 

Senators propose that this program would be especially geared toward those small businesses that did not receive funding under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, and would include agriculture, retail, and tradesmen. Of the total funds available, $300 million would be set aside for businesses with five or fewer employees. 

The program, which Democrats call the “Help Small Businesses Win Big Act of 2020,” will put money directly into the hands of small businesses who are least likely to receive any federal help, but the businesses most important to West Virginian’s economy and their family’s livelihood.

“Businesses with less than ten employees are usually family-owned businesses, whose owners work night and day to support their family and their employees,” said Senator Doug Facemire (D-Braxton). “Helping those people when they really need it at a time like this—those are my family values.” 

Letter to the Governor - Small Business Grant Program
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