Utah State Legislature’s 5th Special Session – June 2020
The Utah Legislature convened a special session last week to address projected revenue shortfalls for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. The Legislature reduced budgeted appropriations by $850 million. Perhaps more significantly, however, H.B. 5010, COVID-19 Economic Recovery Program, was passed, creating several targeted assistance programs related to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Following are brief summaries of four of these programs:
COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program.
This program appropriates $25 million and establishes a tax-exempt grant program administered by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to provide grants to businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 in an amount equal to or less than the decline in revenue due to COVID-19 between March and June 2020.
To be eligible for this grant, a business entity must have experienced a revenue decline in Utah due to the public health emergency related to COVID-19. In addition, the business must offer a financial incentive for individuals or businesses to make purchases from the business entity, in an amount equal to at least 50% of the grant amount. The application process for this program will be established by GOED so that applications can be accepted beginning on August 5, 2020.
COVID-19 PPE Support Grant Program.
This program appropriates $5 million and establishes a tax-exempt grant program administered by GOED to provide grants to businesses to improve workplace safety for workers and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic through measures such as PPE purchases, workplace redesigns, signage, and technology solutions that allow for distance working.
To be eligible for this grant, a business entity must demonstrate that it has incurred and will spend grant funds on COVID-19 expenses and describe its actual or anticipated cost to comply with public health guidelines on safely returning employees to work. The amount of the grant available is the lesser of the amount of the business entity’s COVID-19 expenses or $100 per full-time equivalent employee. The application process for this program will be established by GOED so that applications can be accepted beginning on August 5, 2020.
COVID-19 Cultural Assistance Grant Program.
This program appropriates $9 million and establishes a tax-exempt grant program administered by the Department of Heritage and Arts in consultation with GOED to provide grants to organizations that provide a cultural, artistic, botanical, recreational, or zoological activity that encourages travel and tourism in the state. This grant is limited to entities that qualify to receive funding under Title 59, Chapter 12, Part 7 of the Utah Code, and qualifying entities must have an average three-year operation expenditure of $5,000,000 or more per year. Qualifying entities also may not receive grant funds under the COVID-19 Impacted Business Grant Program. The application process for this program will be established by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums so that applications can be accepted beginning on August 5, 2020.
COVID-10 Displaced Worker Grant Program.
This program appropriates $9 million and provides training for workers displaced due to COVID-19 by creating a program with GOED’s Utah Works and appropriating money to the Utah System of Higher Education’s Custom Fit program. It also allows DWS to create a dashboard to identify unemployment and job opening trends to better match workers with job opportunities.
As of June 23, 2020, the bill has been sent to the Governor. More information about the special session can be found at https://le.utah.gov/session/2020S5/LegislationSummaries_v4.pdf. Information about small business assistance can also be found on the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development website: https://business.utah.gov/coronavirus/.