Lawmakers push for small business relief after pandemic shutdowns

National

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Kansas Senate debated a bill on Tuesday that would bring relief to small businesses ravaged by the pandemic.

Small businesses were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Some had to shut down due to local orders after Governor Laura Kelly declared a state of emergency.

Lawmakers are considering Sub Senate Bill 286, which would provide federal funds to impacted businesses, hoping to help Kansans still struggling financially.

“It would be wise of us to allocate CARES money that has not been allocated to these businesses that are in dire need,” said Senator Caryn Tyson, R-Parker.

The bill was introduced after a gym owner in Wichita sued the state when he was forced to close last year. It would set aside $100 million in federal coronavirus relief money to help businesses that were forced to shut down.

The bill would also require certain counties to establish and administer a county COVID-19 business relief fund and certain cities to establish and administer a city COVID-19 business relief fund.

However, some argue that there are already state efforts to bring relief to small businesses, citing the governor’s SPARK Task Force. Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, said the bill would take away local control over how to disperse much-needed federal relief.

“They want to be able to have access to their dollars and use those as they see fit,” Sykes said.

This is one of several proposals to help struggling businesses that have been considered by lawmakers.

Another bill would provide property tax rebates to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

To watch the Senate debate, click here.

To read more about Sub Senate Bill 286, click here.

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