Lt. governor, small businesses launch online petition calling for financial support from CARES Act Funds

Lt. governor, small businesses launch online petition calling for financial support from CARES Act Funds

PROVIDENCE – Lt. Gov. Dan McKee and members of Rhode Island’s small businesses community have launched an online petition that calls on the state to use at least 10 percent of its $1.25 billion of federal CARES Act funds to establish a grant program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Rhode Islanders can sign the petition at www.rismallbusiness.org/petition .

Through the federal CARES Act, Rhode Island received $1.25 billion in COVID-19 aid funds. A clause within the act outlines that states can allocate the funds to issue grants to small businesses affected by the pandemic. States like New Hampshire, Alaska, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and others have already leveraged this clause, some allocating up to $400 million for small businesses.

“Rhode Island small businesses are struggling each day due to the financial impact of COVID-19. We must step up and help them survive before it is too late,” said McKee. “The CARES Act is crystal clear that states can chose to allocate funds to issue grants to help small businesses. It is time for Rhode Island to make the right choice and support our small business community in an equitable and meaningful way.”

The petition was announced during the McKee’s weekly small business virtual town hall meeting on Facebook Live. Local small business owners joined the McKee in emphasizing the urgency of the request for financial support from the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for small businesses across Rhode Island. If the state does not step in and provide financial assistance, many small businesses will never recover,” said Bill Kitsilis, owner of Angelo’s Palace Pizza in Cumberland. “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and right now local jobs, tax revenue, and family livelihoods are at stake.”