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Gordon vetoes segment of business relief program; emergency spending package will be signed into law
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Gordon vetoes segment of business relief program; emergency spending package will be signed into law

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Jim Kalasinsky, left, and John Kornkven enjoy lunch from the outdoor seating at Sherrie's Place Thursday, May 7, in Casper. The restaurant moved tables from the dining area inside to the sidewalk to accommodate guidelines limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Mark Gordon will veto language in a wide-ranging business relief bill passed Saturday by the Wyoming Legislature, the governor said at a Wednesday press conference.

The bill, which passed both the House and Senate by wide margins, would establish three separate programs for businesses left out of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP: an unprecedented, multi-billion dollar piece of legislation to support small businesses.

The version passed by the Legislature comprised three components, including:

  • $50 million to create a Wyoming business interruption stipend program, which would provide businesses with fewer than 50 employees a stipend of $20,000 to $50,000, based on the number of people they employ;
  • $175 million for the coronavirus business relief loan program, which was intended to provide grants of up to $300,000 for businesses of 100 employees or fewer;
  • $50 million for the coronavirus mitigation stipend program, which would allow qualified businesses of any size to receive reimbursement for equipment to protect employees in the field. ($500,000 cap, no employee ceiling).

While the vetoes will not have an effect on the amount of money in any of the programs, it will remove a number of criteria required of businesses seeking the money in an effort to make the funding more flexible.

Specific vetoes include:

  • changes to improve the flexibility of where money can go; and
  • the removal of a line giving a minimum amount of $20,000 to businesses eligible under the business interruption stipend program.

“We don’t really know what the demand is going to be, and we want to retain some flexibility,” Gordon said Wednesday.

Text of the vetoes were not immediately available.

The bill serves to prop up Wyoming’s small businesses facing hardship. The Business Council will oversee the distribution of funding and anticipates rolling out the first program at the beginning of June.

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Politics Reporter

Nick Reynolds covers state politics and policy. A native of Central New York, he has spent his career covering governments big and small, and several Congressional campaigns. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2015.

Energy and Natural Resources Reporter

Camille Erickson covers the state's energy industries. She received her master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Before moving to Casper in 2019, she reported on business and labor in Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington.

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