Rep. Tommy Brann is stepping up to help Michigan small businesses and their employees stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
Brann this week introduced a plan to build upon a state program established earlier this spring to provide relief to small businesses. The revitalized program would provide grants of up to $10,000 each to eligible businesses with 50 or fewer employees affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. The money could be used to pay employees, for rent or mortgage payments, utility bills or similar expenses.
Brann proposes funding the program at $50 million, significantly more than the initial grant program established and quickly depleted earlier this year. The program would run through the Michigan Strategic Fund, and the state’s general fund would not be affected.
“This COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating … it quickly became clear to me that the grant program the state set up wasn’t enough,” Brann said. “I’ve had a lot of phone calls with small business owners in tears, worried they’re going to lose everything.
Businesses that have been in their families for years – they are shook up and don’t know what they’re going to do. This grant program is one way to provide some hope for people working hard to save their livelihoods.”
Brann, a restaurant owner from Wyoming, can relate to the struggles of small business owners desperately trying to survive the financial challenges of COVID-19.
“A lot of livelihoods are at stake,” Brann said. “We’ve got to do what we can to help small businesses owners – and the employees and communities who count on them.”
The legislation, House Bill 5791, has been assigned to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Rep. Brann, the owner of Brann’s Steakhouse, says that the $300 weekly federal unemployment pandemic benefit is keeping his small business, and small businesses like it, from fully reopening. The House voted to end the benefit this coming Tuesday, June 22.