/Reeves and legislative leaders, at bitter odds last week, pat each other on the back over small business relief program

Reeves and legislative leaders, at bitter odds last week, pat each other on the back over small business relief program

It is noteworthy that the governor’s staff was involved in the negotiation process of the deal, considering that one week prior, the Legislature had engaged in heated public debate about who had the authority for the appropriate funds. Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, House Speaker Philip Gunn and who successfully argued that it was the Legislature, not the governor, who had the authority to appropriate federal funds a week before, stated on Thursday that the governor’s staff was present during the final days of legislative leaders crafting the program. A portion of the $1.25 Billion in federal funds Mississippi received was used to create the $300 million program for small business owners. This money will be used to pay the costs of the coronavirus. Reeves thanked legislators for passing his proposal in a press conference. Reeves suggested that he would sign the bill into legislation as soon as possible, but he stated that he still needed to thoroughly study it. Reeves stated that he appreciated the leadership of the legislative committee and all the hard work they did. “My priority since day one was the rapid release of these funds in order to get them to those who need them… I’m happy that it is possible to happen soon. Although it won’t happen as quickly as I would prefer, I am confident that we have passed the first stage in the negotiation process. “I am grateful to all who got involved.” Reeves had previously argued that he should have sole authority to disburse funds. He could do this much faster than legislators, who would be hamstrung due to the lengthy legislative process. Now the governor has the ball. He oversees the Mississippi Development Authority’s administration of this program. MDA must create a process that allows small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to apply for grants between $1,500 to $25,000 to help cover coronavirus-related expenses. These are businesses that were forced or closed by their employees due to the pandemic. Checks of $2,000. will be sent to approximately 30,000 small businesses who were forced to close. Direct checks will be sent to the companies that are eligible for MDA grants. Although leaders would not confirm Thursday when the payments would be made, direct checks should be sent out faster since businesses are not required to apply. Reeves and legislators agreed that the priority should be to help small businesses close due to the pandemic. Reeves stated, “I have already said that Wall Street will be fine. But it is Main Street I am concerned about.” The bill was unanimously approved by the legislature late Wednesday night. Hosemann stated that Mississippi’s economy thrives because of its small businesses. Our small businesses have been hard hit by this crisis. The Legislature was forced to pause on May 26 after wrapping up the work on the small-business program. They will continue the work they did before the coronavirus struck, but they will also look at other areas where federal funds could be used, like helping local governments or hospitals. They are also focusing on improving distance learning for students at public schools in the state. Reeves stated that he would continue to meet with legislative leaders about the use of federal funds.