South Dakota continues with small business grants

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 9:29 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota received $1.25 billion in coronavirus relief funds (CRF) from the CARES Act.

As the year comes to a close, and the December 30th deadline to appropriate those funds approaches, lawmakers in Pierre are working to make sure they get allocated.

The Joint Committee on Appropriations met to discuss the allocation of those funds. After initially feeling as if they would have no issue spending the funds, the state is now working harder to see to it that that actually happens.

Take for example the state’s K-12 Connect Program, which was intended to provide free internet service to eligible families with K-12 students in the home. The state had originally allocated $8 million for that program. However, after the sign-up period had ended, decided they only needed $500k. The South Dakota Department of Education has already indicated they do not intend to re-open the program or expand the eligibility at this time.

The state is continuing to push its small business grants, and the federal government is continuing to work with states on the December 30th deadline to spend those funds. The current bi-partisan COVID relief bill at the federal level would more than likely include an extension for states to utilize CRF funds.

“(At this time) The funds need to be obligated for cost or revenues that occurred prior to December 30th,” says Bureau of Finance and Management Commissioner Liza Clark. “By having those grant applications completed by December 30th, we have time to analyze them and verify them and pay them out in January.”

As of December 7th, only 161 small businesses in South Dakota have been approved for small business grants, out of nearly five thousand applications.

“Their (Guidehouse) goal is by December 18th to have the applications completely reviewed, and have the bulk of the funding go out around Christmas,” Clark says.

With almost $225 million currently “set aside” for small business grants, Commissioner Clark is encouraging any South Dakota small business owners to apply.

“(I think) the important thing is that businesses apply whether they think they are eligible or not. We have heard from some lobbyists that they were confused on revenues and expenses. When a business fills out the application they can see what they are eligible for, and fill out the information. The biggest thing I would push is just apply.”

For those who have already applied for federal assistance through the state, they are encouraged to stay patient as claims are processed.

To learn more about how to apply, click here.

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