Press Herald and Washington Post raise the question: Can we be sure coronavirus relief money is being put to good use?Portland, MAINE
— Senator Susan Collins spent the weekend sending out announcements about the growing pot of loan money that has been approved for small businesses in Maine—but reporting this morning in the Portland Press Herald and Washington Post raise a key question: can we be sure the money is being put to good use? The Press Herald highlights small businesses who have already been given millions of dollars in loan money, but because of the statewide stay-at-home order, cannot reopen, making it impossible to hire back their employees. For those businesses, the loan program could turn out to be meaningless:
“Some small-business owners worry that the loan program is too risky because borrowers are subject to strict spending rules and a tight deadline for full rehiring or retention of staff that they say is unrealistic. They said many small businesses will fail to meet the requirements and end up having to repay most of their loans, which will make the program fail to have its intended effect of saving businesses.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that between Congress and the Trump administration, we may never know where most of the money from the legislation will go. The small business loan program will be writing checks for up to $10 million—but with no requirement to disclose the recipients of these loans. And if President Trump’s recent firing of the inspector general responsible for overseeing the bailout is any indication, it’s unlikely his Administration is going to go out of its way to be transparent:
“If the names of the beneficiaries of the aid are withheld, it will be difficult to gauge how much of the relief money is being wasted, fraudulently obtained or reaching places it was intended to go, experts and watchdog groups say.”
About the 16 Counties Coalition
The 16 Counties Coalition is a year-long grassroots advocacy campaign aimed at amplifying the voices of families and working Mainers and encouraging Senator Susan Collins to vote in favor of the people she was elected to represent and defend. The campaign will mobilize members through small- and large-scale events, through digital action, and paid television, radio, and digital ads.
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