Michigan’s Whitmer Signs Off on $409 Million Small-Business Relief Program

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing legislation
by Bruce Walker


The third time was a charm for a small-business relief provision of Senate Bill 85, which was signed Monday by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A House version of the bill, House Bill 4047, was proposed by Rep. Timothy Beson, R-Bangor Twp., last March, and signed by the governor. However, Whitmer exercised a line-item veto of the afflicted business relief. Another version of a small-business relief subsequently was passed by the legislature with bipartisan support. Whitmer again exercised her veto authority to squelch it.

SB 85 was introduced by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth.

The bill aims to provide relief to businesses harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and received bipartisan support in the legislature. The bill will appropriate $409 million in small-business relief.

“Though the pandemic turned our world upside down, small-business owners and employees are working hard, like they always do,” Beson said in a statement. “They’re getting back up on their feet, but they’re still limping after Gov. Whitmer’s orders. At last, the governor has agreed to give a little relief to support recovering businesses.”

Businesses that experienced at least a 5% decline in revenues in 2020 compared to 2019 will be eligible for relief. This includes such businesses as restaurants, fitness centers, entertainment venues, nurseries, barber shops, and hotels. Newer businesses that were closed or partially closed by state order will also be eligible.

The amount of each relief grant will be determined by the businesses’ property taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, license and inspection fees, and decline in sales.

“This is a win for local businesses in Bay County – businesses that took heat from the governor and her administration,” Beson said. “Small businesses paid taxes and fees into the system, but couldn’t put their property or licenses to work the way they normally would. They really need the relief that is finally coming their way.”

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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.



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