IDAHO — It’s now been almost two weeks since applications started filing into Governor Brad Little’s office for the Idaho Rebound cash grants, a fund worth $300 million in federal dollars.
While other states are funneling federal amounts of this nature into the government, Governor Little said it's a main priority for him to see to it that the money lands in the pockets of business owners. So how's it going so far?
Up to this point, state representatives tell Idaho News 6 they have issued roughly $30 million in grants to Idaho businesses -- for a total of roughly 3,200 grants.
“I’ve seen a fair number of emails saying, ‘This saved my business,’ ‘This has been a godsend to us during these tough times,'" said Alex Adams, budget chief for Governor Little.
And while companies with 50 employees or less have only been eligible to apply for a few days now, data by Transparent Idaho shows, so far, 85% of grants have gone to businesses with five or less employees.
“Originally when we created this program, very few Idaho businesses had received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans," said Adams.
Since its creation, though, Congress authorized another round of funding for the PPP, which he says put less of a demand on the Idaho grant, and contributed to the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee’s decision to expand eligiblity to self-employed Idahoans.
The business must be the primary source of income for the self-employed applicant, accounting for at least 50% of their household income; but they are eligible to receive up to $7,500 dollars in a one-time Idaho Rebound cash grant.
In addition, eligible recipients cannot have received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through Idaho Department of Labor -- which right now pays at least $768 per week if your claim’s been approved and processed.
“So people would have to do their own calculations on what’s best for them," said Adams.
If you have an application for PUA pending with the Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL), your grant application will be held until IDOL makes a final determination.
Still, with $300 million in the pot, and only 10% of it currently spent, even after expansion of the program, it’s very possible they may still have funds left over.
So where might any leftover dollars go?
Adams said they could reincarnate into unemployment benefits.
“The unemployment insurance program is having historic demands on it... and that’s depleted a lot of that fund," said Adams.
"If we can bolster that fund and put additional resources in there, the lower the rates that Idaho businesses have to pay going forward, to rebuild that unemployment insurance fund for future events like this.”
More information about the fund distributions can be accessed by clicking this link.
The application cycle for businesses with 50 or less employees is open now.
The window for self-employed individuals opens May 27. Applicants need to create a Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) account, and are encouraged to do so prior to their application phase opening.