Small Business Coalition Passes House ARPA Bill


Members of a coalition advocating the use of federal relief funds to support small businesses – especially those owned by minorities or women or that have not benefited from previous grant programs – have expressed disappointment Wednesday with respect to a House plan to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds. and describes the details of an amendment that they believe would improve it.

“We believe that anything you do for small business should be designed with fairness in mind,” said Joe Kriesberg of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations in a legislative briefing. “Underfunded businesses must be the priority. Programs that just spread money over all small businesses, regardless of targeting, size or wealth, we believe this is a misuse of ARPA dollars.

MACDC and the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts are among members of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, which has promoted a $ 1.1 billion proposal that would use ARPA funds to support small businesses. through grants, lower-cost loans from community lenders and banks, equity investments focused on Black, Indigenous and Color-owned businesses (BIPOCs) and women, and expanded technical assistance .

As the House was due to consider a $ 3.65 billion bill Thursday that would affect both ARPA money and excess tax revenue and Senate Democrats are expected to unveil their own spending bill Over the next two weeks, the coalition hosted the virtual briefing to present its ideas to lawmakers.

“We were, frankly, a little disappointed, maybe a lot disappointed, with what the House proposed,” Kriesberg said. “There is basically $ 50 million for small business grants instead of the $ 300 [million] we proposed, and none of the other six things we proposed are included. Instead, there is $ 500 million for unemployment insurance funding, which no doubt benefits all small businesses, but obviously the bigger ones benefit more because they have more employees. .

Kriesberg noted that the House bill also contained $ 200 million in tax relief for small business owners, another item he said would be most beneficial for “the most profitable and most profitable businesses. large “.

Bessie King, owner of downtown Boston’s Villa Mexico restaurant and co-founder of Massachusetts Restaurants United, said small business help “is desperately needed.”

“Without funding, our local restaurants, our local businesses do not survive,” she said. “Our restaurant is in hibernation because we only have three employees working, the cost of goods was going up and we couldn’t just blow the last remaining one. [Restaurant Revitalization Fund] funds that we had.

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