Lt. Gov. McKee calls on Raimondo to use more CARES Act funds on small business relief

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Lt. Governor Dan McKee and members of Rhode Island’s small businesses community are calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to use at least 10% of the state’s $1.25 billion of federal CARES Act funds to establish a grant program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.


McKee created on online petition last week to launch the effort.


The petition has more than 2,000 signatures.According to the Lt. Governor’s team, there is a clause within the CARES Act that says states can allocate the funds to issue grants to small businesses affected by the pandemic.


States like New Hampshire, Alaska, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and others have already leveraged this clause, some allocating up to $400 million in funds for small businesses.


“Rhode Island small businesses are struggling each day due to the financial impact of COVID-19. We must step up and help them survive before it is too late,” said Lt. Governor Dan McKee. “The CARES Act is crystal clear that states can choose to allocate funds to issue grants to help small businesses. It is time for Rhode Island to make the right choice and support our small business community in an equitable and meaningful way.”


The petition was announced during the Lt. Governor’s weekly small business virtual town hall meeting on Facebook Live.Local small business owners joined the Lt. Governor in emphasizing the urgency of the request for financial support from the state.

“Small child care facilities like mine continue to face COVID-19 financial challenges that threaten the future of our business,” said Jamestown Councilwoman Nancy Beye, Owner of Jamestown Early Learning Center. “Our small business community must come together, advocate for one another and call on the state to stand by Rhode Island small businesses.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for small businesses across Rhode Island. If the state does not step in and provide financial assistance, many small businesses will never recover,” said Bill Kitsilis, Owner of Angelo’s Palace Pizza in Cumberland. “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and right now local jobs, tax revenue, and family livelihoods are at stake.”


Categories: Coronavirus, News, Politics, Regional News, Rhode Island