Governor John Bel Edwards has signed a GOP backed bill that would funnel $300 million of coronavirus relief money to Louisiana small businesses through the new Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program.
The state received $1.8 billion through the federal CARES Act. Lawmakers and Edwards agreed to use about $1 billion to balance the state operating budgets for this year and next. Edwards wanted to send the rest to local governments, but the legislature voted overwhelmingly for this grant program.
To qualify for the grants, businesses have to be located in Louisiana, can’t have more than 50 full time employees, and must prove they were hurt by the virus.
$40 million is set aside for minority and women-owned businesses and State Treasurer John Schroder’s office could keep as much as $15 million to administer the program.
Schroder is already seeking bids from contractors to set up a brand new system to process applications. He has to submit his plan to the legislature later this week.