Maine to use $200M in stimulus money for small business grants

Lenore Staats

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine will use $200 million in federal stimulus funds to provide grants to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the coronavirus-induced recession as part of a program that fell far short of a state panel’s aid recommendation. The program rolled out by Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday […]

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine will use $200 million in federal stimulus funds to provide grants to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the coronavirus-induced recession as part of a program that fell far short of a state panel’s aid recommendation.

The program rolled out by Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday is one of the major ones funded so far with $1.25 billion that Maine received under the $2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress in March. States and municipalities are hoping for more congressional aid, but Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked on that subject in a fraught election year.

The grants could be a relatively small lifeline to Maine businesses and nonprofits, which are likely facing billions in cumulative losses due to the pandemic so far. The program is drawn from a recommendation from the Economic Recovery Committee convened by Mills earlier this year, though that called for $350 million in businesses and nonprofit grants. 

It comes well after New Hampshire launched a larger, similar one in June and Vermont allocated a first round of business aid the same month. The program is likely to be the extent of state aid to businesses with CARES Act money, Mills said at a Thursday news conference. 

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