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Unable to Access Fed Aid, ID Small Businesses Have Chance at State Relief

Idaho is allocating $300 million to small businesses affected by coronavirus. (Maridav/Adobe Stock)
Idaho is allocating $300 million to small businesses affected by coronavirus. (Maridav/Adobe Stock)
May 12, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- Many small businesses in Idaho were shut out of the federal government's popular coronavirus aid programs, so the Gem State is providing its own relief.

The application process is open for the Idaho Rebound Small Business Grant program, which is aimed at helping businesses that didn't receive relief from the federal Payment Protection Program.

Elizabeth Belts Kaufman is a photographer and co-owner with her husband of Two Birds Studio in Boise. Weddings make up most of their clients. Kaufman said even if she could access federal relief, a loan wouldn't help.

"There's no way for me to make up that money when events are going away and they're being rescheduled and taking the place of events for next year," Kaufman said.

The state is allocating $300 million through grants up to $10,000 for businesses. Businesses with up to 19 employees can apply now with the Idaho State Tax Commission. Businesses with up to 50 employees can start applying next Monday, May 18.

Self-employed workers and independent contractors are only eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from the state.

Kaufman said she will apply for a small-business grant from Idaho. But without many weddings taking place this year, she's still in a tight spot.

"It doesn't look real good for us," she said. "And so you're looking at at least a year of very little income."

She said she's taking it one day at a time, but she gets scared thinking about the future.

"We have two young children, and so my business is what keeps our family alive," Kaufman said.

Organizations that advocate for small businesses are encouraging Idahoans to apply for grants as soon as they can because the program is expected to run out of money quickly.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID