State Rep. Grant Wehrli Applauds Steps Taken to Assist Taxpayers and Small Business Owners during Public Health Crisis

State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) expressed his support Wednesday to new economic assistance measures that will help Illinois families and business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new programs build on measures already in place, including a deferral of sales tax payments for small and medium-sized restaurants and bars, and $2 million in low-interest small business disaster assistance loans.

In addition to extending the State of Illinois tax filing deadline by three months to July 15, 2020, Governor JB Pritzker announced new programs that will provide more than $90 million in financial relief to Illinois small business owners. “Families are struggling and I support steps to minimize their financial hardship,” said Wehrli. “I hope that these state assistance programs, coupled with the federal aid package that is being finalized this week, will allow our families and small businesses to weather these unprecedented economic challenges.”

According to Wehrli, three new programs will offer financial relief to struggling small business owners. Businesses will be able to apply for the new emergency assistance through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) web site.

A Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will provide $60 million to support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of the City of Chicago. The loans will be available to small business owners in every industry, and applications will be available on the DCEO web site on Friday, March 27. “This benefit will be available for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees that generated less than $3 million in revenue during 2019,” Wehrli said. “Loan repayment would not begin for six months to allow business owners time to stabilize. These funds will provide critical resources to help businesses meet payroll and other obligations.”

A Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program will offer an additional $20 million in support to eligible small businesses in suburban and rural counties, by offering grants up to $25,000 for businesses located in communities currently served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development. Through the stabilization program, small businesses employing less than 50 people will have an opportunity to partner with local governments to receive working capital. Grants, based on the Community Development Block Grant Program, will be offered on a rolling basis. The application for the stabilization program will also be available on the DCEO web site on March 27.

A Hospitality Emergency Grant Program will include $14 million to assist small businesses in the hospitality sector. Up to $25,000 will be available for eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 will be available to eligible hotels. According to information provided by the Governor’s office, bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. Hotels that generated less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.

“These funds will be extremely important for eligible restaurants, bars and hotels, especially as they rely more heavily on technology due to current curb-side and delivery mandates and struggle to make payroll,” said Wehrli.

Applications for the hospitality grants are available today on DCEO’s website and are due by April 1 at 5 p.m. All valid, eligible applications received within the five-day window will be entered into a lottery, and grant winners will be notified on April 4.