Governor Larry Hogan Announces Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative
Governor Larry Hogan announced in a press conference today an unprecedented expansion of state assistance with the launch of the Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative.
The Governor’s new $250 million initiative (funded by MD’s rainy day fund) will be instrumental to the survival of small businesses in the coming months, and expressed pessimism that the federal legislative branch would be able to come to a consensus on a stimulus package before the election.
Additionally, Governor Hogan expressed his displeasure that some counties had not yet disbursed the bulk of the federally-backed funding stemming from the CARES Act, or that they have been slow to re-open in comparison to other jurisdictions in the state. Only 35% of CARES Act funding for the smaller jurisdictions in MD has been allocated, according to the Governor.
On paper, Montgomery County received $183 million in federal funds, but according to recent figures reported by the Bethesda Beat, the county had only awarded or spent about $23 million.
Some highlights of the Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative include:
-$50 million in additional funds for MD’s small business COVID-19 relief fund
-$20 million in additional funds for MD’s grant program for small businesses, entertainment venues, and main street recovery zones
-$20 million in additional funds for COVID-19 layoff aversion funds to help small businesses maintain their staff
-$50 million in new relief specifically designated for MD restaurants (funds will be provided to local jurisdictions and will be disbursed no later than 12/31/2020.
-$100 million for dedicated emergency rapid response fund that will be disbursed at the discretion of the state.
The state will release more information on the process for applying for these funds in the coming days.
By Daniel Garay
Additional notes from the press conference:
Governor Larry Hogan’s 10/22 Press Conference News and Notes
State health officials are closely monitoring an uptick in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Even with the slight uptick, hospitalizations are down 73% from peak, and there has been a nearly 80% decline in ICU levels since they peaked in May.
According to the CDC, Maryland currently has one of the lowest death rates in the country with 0.7 new deaths per 100,000 people.
Maryland is making steady progress, spiking numbers in our region and across the country are an important reminder that this crisis is far from over.
Based on contact tracing, social gatherings remain the most likely source of transmission. Family gatherings and house parties are the top activities of those who have tested positive.
Masks and distancing remain our most effective mitigation strategies. Marylanders are also encouraged to continue to avoid large crowds, gatherings, and congregate settings as much as possible.
We cannot let our guard down, and we should remain vigilant even when we are in close contact with people we know and love.
We have now added and re-gained nearly 200,000 jobs since our recovery began.
“The failure of Washington to provide additional stimulus relief for our small businesses, struggling families, and to the states for economic recovery is having a devastating impact.”
“Our small business community and our struggling Marylanders who depend on them for their jobs cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative
Includes the investment of $250 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for a total economic relief package of $500 million.
The new $250 million investment will fund a combination of new relief programs and an expansion of successful existing relief programs.
The governor announces $50 million for the third installment of the ‘Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund’ to fully fund the entire backlog of grant applications already received and reviewed by the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Relief for restaurants: $50 million in direct grant relief for the state’s 11,500+ restaurants. Eligible use of funds includes such things as: working capital, sanitization services, payroll and rent, purchase of PPE, upgraded technology, and infrastructure improvements.
$5 million to double funding for low-interest loans to small and minority businesses.
$2 million will go to support hometown tourism efforts that promote our restaurants and local attractions and shops.
“ Only the people of Maryland have the power to slow the spread, prevent the surge, and to keep Maryland open for business.”