Rural Equal Aid Act urged to help rural businesses
The Center for Rural Affairs is urging lawmakers to support a bill that treats rural businesses and communities equally when it comes to coronavirus relief dollars. Johnathan Vladik is the center’s policy director, “We know nationally, rural areas are now responsible for a disproportionately high number of COVID cases and deaths. While this is happening, our economy is struggling and rural small businesses just are not getting the same support as their urban counterparts right now.”
He says rural businesses are not getting Small Business Administration loans, which are being forgiven through the CARES Act, and instead have to go through the USDA’s rural assistance program (RAMP).
Vladik says that’s where the bipartisan Rural Equal Aid (REA) Act comes in, “This is $15-Million to cover these businesses payments in the exact same way as the SBA program did. That is not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. This is something that’s an investment in rural communities. Something that keeps Main Street alive, keeps Main Street vibrant.”
Vladik says to add insult to injury, the House-passed HEROES Act extends another six to 12 months of relief to those same SBA businesses that have already had their payments forgiven.
Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne introduced the House version of the Rural Equal Aid act. Congressman Troy Balderson of Ohio is one of the co-sponsors.