Governor Lee, State Leaders Announce $200M Small Business Relief Program

Date: June 02, 2020

Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced a new relief program for Tennessee businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon, approximately $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds will be moved to the Tennessee Business Relief Program and sent directly to certain small businesses that qualify.

Read the full press release and FAQs from the Department of Revenue that will be updated with important details soon.

The following types of small businesses are eligible under the program:

· Barber shops
· Beauty shops
· Nail salons
· Tattoo parlors, spas, and other personal care services
· Gyms and fitness centers
· Restaurants
· Bars
· Hotels and other travel accommodations
· Theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers and similar facilities
· Museums, zoos, and other similar attractions
· Amusement parks
· Bowling centers and arcades
· Marinas
· Amusement, sports and recreational industries
· Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events
· Agents and managers of artists, athletes, and entertainers
· Independent artists, writers, and performers

In addition, the following small businesses are eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25%, as shown on their April sales tax returns (filed in May):

· Furniture stores
· Home furnishing stores
· Clothing stores
· Shoe stores
· Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
· Bookstores
· Department stores
· Office supply, stationery and gift stores
· Used merchandise stores
· Other miscellaneous stores
· Sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores

Relief amounts awarded will be based on the annual gross sales of the business. Roughly 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, with more than 73% of those businesses earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense economic pain across our state and especially among small businesses that faced temporary closure,” said Gov. Lee. “As we responsibly steward our federal stimulus money we have worked to quickly prioritize our small businesses and I thank the work of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for their partnership in this.”

The Financial Stimulus Accountability Group includes Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Speaker Cameron Sexton, Comptroller Justin Wilson, Sen. Ramesh Akbari, Sen. Bo Watson, Rep. Harold Love and Rep. Pat Marsh.

Lt. Gov. McNally added, “I am hopeful this program will soon be expanded to include non-profits, trade groups and chambers of commerce. … Our recovery from this economic disruption will be a slow process. But without small business, it doesn’t happen at all. I am grateful for this opportunity to put our most at-risk businesses on a path to stability and prosperity.”

Speaker Sexton noted, “Our small businesses drive our local and statewide economies, and their success is critical to our continued, swift economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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