Small business community says state COVID-19 aid is welcome, but more will be needed
MARYLAND – With the stroke of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s pen, small business owners now have more COVID-19 financial relief on the way. Main Street Princess Anne Manger Carrie Samis says this is welcome news for a community that relies heavily on small business. “They are still wrestling with the challenges of COVID and making sure that they keep themselves, their customers, and their staff safe,” said Samis.
Governor Hogan signed the state’s RELIEF Act Monday, giving small business owners sales tax credits, adjusted unemployment tax rates, and loan and grant forgiveness. The local business community says those benefits are much needed. “I think it’s a triple header of the advantages for businesses. They’ve been asking for this tax incentive program for literally months after this pandemic began,” said CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Bill Chambers.
Samis says the impact of those tax breaks will depend on how well the business is doing because it’s based off sales tax. She says some businesses have been able to keep up sales by pivoting their business models, while others are really suffering. “For some of them it might mean an additional $500, let’s say, that they get to keep. But for some it could mean much more than that,” said Samis.
While this is all good news for existing businesses, Samis says it could also mean peace of mind for new businesses coming to town. “Opening a new business is always a risk. Opening a new business in a pandemic is certainly a risk. We appreciate that business owners have taken a chance,” said Samis.
Samis says even while this state aid is on the way, Main Street Princess Anne has been working with small businesses to give them cash grants to stay afloat. Samis says she thinks that combination of local and statewide resources is what’s really going to make a difference in recovery. “There is no one fix. There are all these multiple programs that businesses and families have to try to avail themselves of,” said Samis.
But, the business community says this isn’t a permanent fix. “If I were in the position of state leadership and this bill is signed today by the governor, I would already be drafting a blueprint for a next package. If it’s not needed, no problem. But I think they still need that prepared and ready to go,” said Chambers.