Taking additional steps to better expedite the AK CARES Act Funding for small businesses in need of help, Governor Mike Dunleavy today notified the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee that he is submitting modifications to the AK CARES Grant Program to expand the eligibility for applicants. The expanded program details, delivered by the established Revised Programs Legislative (RPL) Review Process, was sent alongside other routine business for the committees consideration in response to mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Currently, applicants for AK CARES Grant funding are restricted from applying if they received more than $5,000 in other federal assistance or if the business is a source of secondary income. The original intent of AK CARES is to provide support for those Alaska businesses that did not receive substantial assistance either through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Small Business Administration relief (EIDL) efforts. Based on the total of applications received to date, the State has determined that there will be capacity remaining in the grant program after the original pool of applicants have been funded.
“Alaskans deal with adversity better than anyone, and we have shown that throughout this pandemic,” said Governor Dunleavy, “but as COVID-19 remains, and challenges continue to mount for our job creators, we need to provide them with tools to meet those challenges, and to do it as soon as possible.”
The new changes lift the $5,000 restriction, as well as those on secondary income businesses. Other restrictions, such as requiring that businesses must be Alaska based or that businesses cannot have more than 50 employees, remain in place at this time, but may be amended in the future based on authority granted in the RPL.
“AK CARES was crafted with the finest mesh to help those businesses who fell between the cracks when the door closed on them to other federal relief efforts,” said Governor Dunleavy. “We accomplished opening that door, and we are now expanding that relief to other small Alaska businesses in real need.”
Under law, the proposed changes can happen in 45 days at the latest. However, the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee can meet before then, and take action on the proposed changes. If the committee does take action, the expanded relief for businesses can take effect immediately.
“We are hearing very clearly from businesses throughout Alaska that relief needs to come now,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Through no fault of their own, entrepreneurs in our state are in jeopardy, and we need to be there for them, their workers, and their families.”
Applications for grants can be from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $100,000. If approved by the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee, businesses can apply through the AK CARES Grant portal at https://www.akcaresonline.org.