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Legislature amends ‘Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program’

Lawmakers returned to the capitol Monday, and in addition to overriding the governor’s partial veto of the education budget bill and funding the teacher incentive program that led to veto, they also amended the ‘Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program’ that was created back in May. 

After passing with an overwhelming majority in each chamber, SB 3053 will implement several changes to the program that was created to disburse $300 million of Mississippi’s CARES Act funds to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — $60 million in direct payments to businesses that were forced to close by government order and $240 million in grants to Mississippi small businesses. 

The bill passed Monday will make the $2,000 direct payment, which is separate from the grant program, available to additional businesses. As for the grant program, the minimum amount granted has been increased from $1,500 to $3,500.

Also, a provision has been removed to eliminate a deduction in grant funding for businesses that also received funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Prior to this change, if a business was awarded a $10,000 grant and had gotten any funding from the PPP, those funds would’ve been subtracted from the grant allotment from the Mississippi Development Authority. 

To date, around $25 million has made its way to Mississippi businesses, according to Rep. Jeramey Anderson. The District 110 Representative explained that additional provisions were removed to speed up the process of getting the funds to the businesses that need it. 

The application process for the grant program remains open. Check out the program’s website to view the eligibility requirements. 

Legislators have now adjourned without passing a budget for the Department of Marine Resources or addressing the governor’s veto of a portion of CARES Act funding related to a hospital in Tate County. This was included in the lawsuit filed against the governor by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Speaker Pro Tem Jason White.

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