ABQ Business First: State lawmakers address pandemic relief for businesses during special session | KOB 4

ABQ Business First: State lawmakers address pandemic relief for businesses during special session

Patrick Hayes
Updated: November 24, 2020 10:33 PM
Created: November 24, 2020 06:01 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico businesses are eager to receive additional pandemic relief from the state. 

On Tuesday, state lawmakers convened for a special legislative session to figure out how to spend the remaining $300 million from the federal CARES Act. In less than seven hours, lawmakers were able to pass a relief package, which includes $100 million for small businesses. 

"And that includes a proposal for about $100 million in grants to businesses, so businesses will definitely be watching that program very closely,” said Rachel Sams, Editor-in-Chief of Albuquerque Business First. 

Sams said the federal government has offered loans to help with paychecks, however she said local businesses are looking for grants with more flexibility. Companies may also be concerned about the requirements. 

 "With the assistance that's been made available so far, a lot of it requires extensive documentation that you have lost a lot of business during the pandemic and many businesses have, but especially for a small business, going through and getting all the documents to prove that in the form an application requires can be a ton of work at a time,” Sams said. “They're struggling just to stay afloat, so they'll be really watching closely to see how much help is passed, what is passed and how challenging it will be to access."

There’s still a lot of unknowns about how large the individual grants will be, how they can be used, and if national chain stores will be eligible to receive them.

"That was one of the big points of debate with the federal PPP, right? There were cases, many reported stores— different chains, large chains, restaurants and big chain restaurants getting money under that program which was thought of and promoted as a way to help small businesses across the state, and if they saw anything they thought was skewing any financial help program towards any out-of-state business, I think you'd see a big outcry against that,” Sams explained.

Sams said many businesses rely on holiday shopping, but are missing out on those profits because of the current statewide restrictions. That’s why small businesses are hoping those federal funds get out the door as quickly as possible.

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