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Valley lawmakers introduce legislation for more COVID funding

“Nothing is more important than ensuring small businesses have the resources necessary for their swift recovery during these unprecedented times,” state Sen. Michael Rulli said.
Michael Rulli - Mike Loychik - Al Cutrona
State Sen. Michael Rulli of Salem, left, and state Reps. Mike Loychik of Bazetta and Al Cutrona of Canfield.

COLUMBUS — Mahoning Valley lawmakers have introduced COVID-19 relief plans to support small businesses, veterans and child care throughout Ohio.

State Sens. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, and Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would provide an additional $300 million of combined state and federal funding to businesses and other entities across Ohio for COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses.

State Rep. Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, introduced companion legislation in the Ohio House today.

Also today, state Reps. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, and D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, introduced legislation that would provide grants to bars, restaurants and the lodging industry due to financial burdens placed on them by the pandemic.

“We’ve unfortunately seen the continued impact COVID-19 has had on so many parts of our state,” Loychik said in a news release. “I stand proudly to introduce this bill that focuses on addressing concerns from our businesses, issues with child care, helping our veterans and supporting our county fairs for the upcoming year as we recover from this pandemic.”

Here is how the $300 million allocation would be directed under Senate Bill 109:

  • $150 million for small businesses that have already been approved for aid but have yet to receive funding due to lack of program funding;
  • $20 million for indoor entertainment businesses that lost revenue due to canceled events and closures;
  • $10 million for new businesses that opened their doors after Jan. 1, 2020;
  • $120 million for Ohio's fairs, veterans’ homes and child care services, including:
    • $4.7 million for Ohio’s county and independent fairs;
    • $3 million for Ohio’s two veterans’ homes;
    • $112.2 million to reimburse child care providers for pandemic-related expenses.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring small businesses have the resources necessary for their swift recovery during these unprecedented times,” Rulli said in a news release. “I urge my colleagues to act swiftly to get these critical relief dollars into the hands of Ohioans who need it.”

Testimony on Senate Bill 109 begins March 9 in the Senate Finance Committee. Loychik’s bill awaits its committee assignment.

CUTRONA’S LEGISLATION

The bill introduced by Cutrona and Swearingen appropriates $125 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid to support Ohio bars, restaurants and the lodging industry, which have been hit hard by the closures and restrictions stemming from COVID-19.

“We need to help these industries get back on their feet, especially assisting our small business owners whose bars and restaurants have been impacted by COVID-19,” Cutrona said in a news release. “During and post-pandemic, it’s vital we provide them with the opportunity for this relief. While it’s sadly too late for some, it is my hope this substantial aid delivers much-needed dollars that keeps our local businesses running.” 

The bill appropriates $100 million in grants for bars and restaurants and $25 million in grants for the lodging industry. For bars and restaurants, the grants would be awarded in the amounts of $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 based on loss of revenue and the number of employees. Additionally, the lodging industry grants would be awarded in the amounts of $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 based on loss of revenue and occupancy rates.

The bill is awaiting its committee assignment.