LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gyms, movie theaters, and other businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic would receive state grants under a $185 million spending bill that won initial legislative approval Thursday.
The 96-6 vote in the House came more than a month after the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted $409 million in aid for businesses that lost money — funded with federal discretionary COVID-19 aid. Applications for those grants are due by April 1 and must be disbursed by July 1.READ MORE: Michigan Announces $1.5 Million Tuition Giveaway, 100 Children To Receive $15,000
The next round of proposed grants, which also would be paid for with federal funds, would go to fitness centers, convention bureaus, community development banks, cinemas, and live music and entertainment venues. The bill would also offset lost revenue if separate legislation is passed to waive liquor license renewal fees for 2021 and refund licensing fees for workers and restaurants affected by past pandemic orders.
The Senate will consider the legislation next.READ MORE: AAA Offers 'Tow To Go' Program During Memorial Day Weekend
“We still have job providers and workers suffering from the economic consequences of government shutdowns and the slow return back to normal. It has hurt many industries across our state, some more than others,” said the sponsor, House Appropriations Committee Chair Thomas Albert. The Lowell Republican said the $185 million is “exactly how we should be using these federal relief dollars that are available to the state.”
Democrats in the GOP-controlled House unsuccessfully tried to add funding that would give bonuses to frontline workers, bolster a fund used to add affordable housing, provide grants to artists and museums that were impacted by the coronavirus, and let nonprofits such as the YMCA also qualify for aid in additional to for-profit exercise facilities.MORE NEWS: Holiday Travel And Gas: What To Expect At The Pump
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