Yesterday was the last day that the Mississippi Legislature will convene until after Memorial Day, and before clocking out, lawmakers made sure to pass a bill to help small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Senator Josh Harkins, who serves District 20, told Paul Gallo of The Gallo Show on Friday morning that he is pleased with the legislature’s move to get money to Mississippi businesses.
“We have really been working hard with the Senate conferees and the House conferees and just a lot of members and legal staff,” Harkins said. “This was a healthy process that went through many iterations. We talked about different ways to do this, we came up with new ideas, and eventually morphed into the bill that you see now”
Phase one of the legislation will automatically distribute $60 million between nearly 30,000 small businesses that were forced to close due to the ongoing pandemic. Phase two will provide $240 million in grants to small businesses that apply through the Mississippi Development Authority.
Harkins also emphasized the fact that the $300 million dollars has to be used properly or the state of Mississippi will be required to reimburse the federal government.
“After these funds are disbursed, the state of Mississippi is on the hook for this money, so we want to be sure that we are doing this properly,” Harkins said.
The United States Treasury Department has issued specific guidelines on how federal relief funding must be used.
“I think this is the best effort that we can put forward given the fact we just got the regs and the guidance from the treasury,” Harkins said. “We are one of the first states, I believe, to pass legislation doing this.”
To watch the full interview with Harkins, click the video below.