May 21, 2020
With over 90% of our state businesses being considered “small,” it’s no secret that small businesses are the backbone of the South Carolina economy and have a significant impact on it. For a number of reasons, unfortunately, nearly three-quarters of small businesses have been unable to access relief funding through the CARES Act.
A couple of weeks ago the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, along with our counterparts in Greenville and Columbia and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), submitted the Small Business Relief Fund Proposal to Governor McMaster and the South Carolina General Assembly. View the proposal here.
We proposed that the South Carolina Small Business Relief initiative would be funded via a $100 million allocation from the estimated $2 billion in federal funds the state received for coronavirus relief. Each South Carolina county would be eligible for a portion of the funds not to exceed their share of the state population. Funds must be used for business-related expenses (rents/leases, payroll, PPE or other business restart expenses). Businesses that use the funds for unintended purposes will be required to repay those funds and could be subject to criminal charges. Additional parameters may need to be established, including guidance on a minimum or maximum grant value available per business, which could help define the potential number of business grants awarded and determine the potential impact to South Carolina’s businesses and economy.
While we know there is no silver bullet to the economic impact felt by COVID-19 by all businesses in our state and country, we continue to ask state leaders to focus on the impact to small business in the state. We continue to work with other Chambers around the state to identify the hurdles businesses face as we begin to slowly reopen. We will take these issues and concerns to our delegations, House and Senate leadership and the Governor before they return next month to decide how to spend the nearly $2 billion in federal funds marked for coronavirus relief.
Stay tuned as your Government Relations team continues to work as hard as we can for you as we begin to reopen our economy. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!