Whitmer asks Small Business Administration to release crucial funds

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) expressing concern on recent court rulings. The rulings prevent the SBA from supplying critical grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to support women, veteran, and minority-owned Michigan restaurants and advocate for additional resources to help these small businesses immediately.

“Small businesses have been incredibly resilient throughout the pandemic, and it is critical that they can rely upon the aid promised to them to stay above water and support their hard-working employees,” said Gov. Whitmer. “As we emerge from the pandemic, Lt. Governor Gilchrist and I are laser-focused on supporting small businesses and creating good-paying jobs and bigger paychecks for Michigan workers. My top priority is ensuring every community in Michigan is a part of our economic jumpstart so that we can build back even stronger than before.”

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist added that certain groups of restaurant owners were hit hardest.

“Restaurants owned by women, veterans and people of color were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Lt. Gov. Gilchrist. “These small businesses are cornerstones of their communities, supporting thousands of jobs and families across the state. We must do all we can to support these small businesses as we rebuild our economy, and it is crucial that the SBA provides resources to help these restaurants recover faster and stronger.”

Restaurant owners expressed frustration with their applications being approved, only to have the loans taken away.

“This past year has been very tough on all of us, especially small business owners who have been working day and night to build back from the pandemic,” said Matt Buskard, owner of Bobcat Bonnie’s, a restaurant with five locations in Michigan. “That’s why we were excited when the U.S. Small Business Administration approved our application for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help us hire and catch up on bills, and it’s devastating to have it taken away on such short notice. We hope the relief that was promised to our small business will come through.”

Due to court rulings in Texas and Tennessee, the SBA ceased relief to support women, veteran, and minority-owned restaurants across the nation.

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