Potential La. Grant Program Would Give Up to $15k to Small Businesses

METAIRIE – State Treasurer John M. Schroder appeared at press conferences in Baton Rouge and Metairie today to promote the Main Street Recovery Program, a bill approved by the legislature last week designed to make $300 million available to small businesses throughout Louisiana.

The bill – now awaiting signature from Gov. John Bel Edwards – is controversial because it uses funds from the federal government that the governor would rather send to municipalities to help pay for pandemic-related expenses.

Schroder said he thinks the money is better spent on small businesses, who will ultimately pay the taxes that keep the lights on for local and state governments.

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“People are just hurting,” said Schroder. “I see it in my home in St. Tammany Parish and talk to people daily. Out of over 400,000 business owners in Louisiana, roughly 65,000 or so have gotten some kind of assistance from the federal government but there are many, many, many businesses who have gotten nothing.”

The planned Main Street grant program would be open to businesses that didn’t receive funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan or a business interruption insurance policy. Grants will be capped at $15,000 each and are only available to businesses based in Louisiana with less than 51 employees. $40 million will be set aside for minority-owned businesses.

“What I like best about this law is that for the first 21 days this is a grant program that will go to businesses that have received no help from any government to date,” said Schroder, who takes exception with the notion that the law is going to line the pockets of big business owners.

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“Everybody in business isn’t on the beach or playing golf every afternoon,” said Schroder. “For many small businesses owners, all it is is a job. They work for themselves. They’re not running to the bank every day making deposits into their savings account. They’re going to work everyday and if they don’t work, they don’t eat. … This is a great program and this shouldn’t be about government versus business. That shouldn’t even be in the equation. If we don’t have strong efficient businesses, there won’t be any taxes and the government won’t be able to run.”

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