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Murray Touts Small Business Benefits Of American Rescue Plan

Screenshot from Murray Roundtable

Spokane County officials say they allocated about $23 million in CARES Act money last fall to help small companies stay afloat during the pandemic. On Tuesday they reported that money went to more than 1,100 small businesses and nearly 200 non-profits.

The next batch of relief money for small businesses is on the way, says Sen. Patty Murray [D-Washington].“Earlier this month we were able to deliver a Covid relief package that finally begins to meet the scope and scale of the crisis people here in Washington state have been facing for the past year," she said.

This week Murray is working the Zoom circuit, touting some of the benefits of that new law. On Tuesday, she invited Spokane small business owners to tell their stories.

Senator Murray says the American Rescue Plan has $50 billion targeted for small business relief, including funds specifically for restaurants and venues that put on live events.

That’s music to the ears to Karli and Caleb Ingersoll, who own the Lucky You Lounge, a live music venue on the west end of downtown Spokane. Caleb Ingersoll says they’ve managed to stay open without music by taking advantage of PPP and other loans. He says they’ve remodeled their space to allow more restaurant dining.

“Our biggest concern through all of this, while we’re happy that we still exist as a business, we have about twice as much debt as we did befvore this. That’s huge for us. Without having any clue when we’re able to get back to 100% capacity, the current restrictions on doing live music make it nearly impossible for us to do it," Caleb Ingersoll said.

Alisha Benson, the CEO of Greater Spokane, Incorporated, says the new money, more than $200 million, coming to small companies and local governments will help. But she says it needs to be strategically spent.

“Working with our partners and our elected leaders, we want to be able to build resiliency and long-term recovery with these dollars. We want to be able to think about how we’re targeting those investments to help the business community develop for the long term," Benson said.

Murray’s office on Tuesday announced President Biden has signed into law an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program to keep it going through May.