Tennessee eyes $44M more for businesses in federal relief

Jun 4, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee state panel is proposing another $44.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid to increase the payouts businesses can receive for their losses due to the pandemic.

The proposal announced at a meeting Wednesday of the state’s Financial Accountability Stimulus Group drew backlash from critics, who note that businesses will see an additional boost as the state begins cutting off extra payments to unemployed people through federal pandemic aid starting next month.

Currently, the state has reported approving $73 million through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund for more than 3,200 businesses at an average payment of about $22,500. The group is proposing to raise the cap on payments per business from $30,000 to $100,000, saying more than 1,100 businesses have shown that they lost more than $30,000 during the pandemic. The state plans to reach out to those businesses to assess their situations and won't make the payments automatically.

“One of the things that we have worked really hard to do during the pandemic is to make sure that livelihoods are maintained, and the best way to do that is to make sure that the companies that Tennesseans work for are able to continue to operate,” Republican Gov. Bill Lee told reporters Wednesday.

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