Thousands of Wisconsin small businesses could be getting grant money to help with pandemic recovery.
Gov. Tony Evers announced the new Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery grant at The Ruby Tap, a wine bar in Wauwatosa, on Thursday.
Sisters Brooke Boomer and Sarah Nelson, who own the wine shop, said previous grant funding was crucial to staying afloat.
"We converted everything to be virtual, all pickups. We were able to adapt to a lot of different things that we wouldn't normally have done," said Boomer.
The grant program is funded by the American Rescue Plan. It will award up to $420 million and applies to a wide array of small businesses, covering those with annual gross revenues between $10,000 and $7,000,000. Each business will be eligible for up to $5,000.
"This grant program has the potential to help approximately 84,000 businesses in the state. While we are still waiting for federal guidance, we want small businesses to know that help is on the way. Once we receive the federal funds, were not going to wait. We're going to get that money out the door," Evers said.
The news came after the governor vetoed 11 Republican bills related to the federal funds, including one that would have given $200 million to small businesses. Evers said that was not enough and that requiring legislative oversight would potentially create delays. Under state law, the governor has discretion on how to use federal funds.
"At the end of the day, we're still battling a pandemic and all the uncertainty that comes with it. Workers and business owners are still filled with worry and are still struggling to make ends meet and this money belongs to them," said Evers.
How quickly this money goes out depends on guidance from the Treasury Department. Evers said he hopes it is done within weeks.