Governor Announces Several Actions To Help Maryland’s Businesses Suffering Due to COVID-19

He also says the state still  needs additional federal aid to fight the coronavirus.







Annapolis, Md (KM) Governor Larry Hogan is taking some actions to help Maryland businesses dealing  with the difficulties brought on the by the coronavirus. He made his announcement Thursday during a news conference in Annapolis. “Today, I have signed an executive order to protect Maryland businesses from sudden or substantial increases in their unemployment taxes,” he said. “This emergency relief will have more businesses keep their operations going and keep more people on their payrolls.”

He said many businesses were  scheduled to face “massive, automatic increases in their unemployment taxes through no fault of their own.”

In other action, the Governor announced that businesses which borrowed a total of $75-million in emergency loans that  were doled out beginning in March will not have to pay them back. “I have directed the Department of Commerce to take immediate action to forgive the entire $75-million in emergency small business debt. These loans will be converted to grants which will not have to be paid back.” he said. “This will provide additional, much needed relief for many of those small businesses.”

Despite  this assistance being provided to businesses in Maryland, Governor Hogan continued to urge Congress to pass another coronavirus relief bill. “Congress continues  to fail at the one simple that we have been asking them to do for the past eight months which is provide additional emergency relief for our struggling families and small businesses,” he said.

Hogan said he earlier this week, he spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Senate leaders on the negotiations for this package. “We continue to stress to all our leaders in Washington on both sides of the aisle the urgent need for them to reach a consensus on a relief package,” he said. “Even if it’s only on a temporary, band aid approach that lasts  for a few months. Something is better than nothing.”

Other programs that the Governor announced on Thursday deal  with housing. . “We will be funding another $25-millon in low income tax credit projects which will promote the construction 2,000 units of high quality affordable  housing which will create even more jobs,” Hogan said.

And renters are not being left out. “We also releasing $12-million through the Rental Housing Works program which will spur even more projects and create even more jobs for construction workers and related industries across the state,” the Governor said.

He also proposed an expensive program  for diabetes treatment and prevention. “We are committing $94-million in new grants and investments to help treat Marylanders with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hogan said. “More than one out of every three Marylanders either has diabetes or pre-diabetes which puts  them at a much greater risk and is the number-one co-morbidity for people getting serious illness from COVID-19,’ The Governor said.

Hogan also added  $10-million to support law enforcement, and youth and victim services “including a new COVID-19 safe futures collaborative that connects crime victims to accessing the critical services that they need virtually.”

Along with “funding for PPE {personal protective equipment} and protective barriers for the 34 District Court locations across the state; rapid testing equipment and supplies for the Maryland State Police,” the Governor said.

As of Thursday, there are 225,853 COVID-19 cases in Maryland, which is an increase of 3,202 since Wednesday, according to the Maryland Department of Health.


By Kevin McManus