Arkansas Delegation Urges Swift Approval of Governor’s Disaster Declaration to Support Small Business

March 20, 2020
Press Release

U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, French Hill, Rick Crawford, and Bruce Westerman—sent a letter to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to support Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for an SBA disaster declaration for economic injury as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The declaration would make additional federal resources available to the state’s small businesses to provide needed relief during this unprecedented time.

The lawmakers ask for immediate action given the substantial economic injury and impact of the situation: “Small businesses across our state have already felt the effects of this pandemic in the form of significant economic losses, and those losses are expected to continue as the pandemic —and its accompanying, necessary restrictions— continue,” members wrote in the letter

They continued, “As losses are endured, we remain committed to working with the federal government on all levels to ensure needed relief is delivered. While this time of crisis has presented challenges, it has also shown the strength and resilience of Arkansas and the American people. We, and the people of our great state, thank you for your attention to this situation, and for your ongoing efforts to support our communities.”

Below is the full text of the delegation’s letter of support:

Dear Ms. Garfield,

On behalf of the State of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Asa Hutchinson’s March 17, 2020, request that the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) issue an economic disaster declaration for all 75 counties in the State of Arkansas as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), in order to provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

As Governor Hutchinson stated in his request, the effects of COVID-19 began on January 31, 2020, and have caused, “Economic impacts such as major event cancellations, loss of walk-in customers due to fear, depletion of stock from suppliers, and client cancellations.” Small businesses across our state have already felt the effects of this pandemic in the form of significant economic losses, and those losses are expected to continue as the pandemic —and its accompanying, necessary restrictions— continue.

Governor Hutchinson has conducted the required survey of affected businesses to determine the economic impact of their losses. Based on the survey, he has certified that at least 5 small businesses in the disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster and are in need of financial assistance not otherwise available on reasonable terms.

As losses are endured, we remain committed to working with the federal government on all levels to ensure needed relief is delivered. While this time of crisis has presented challenges, it has also shown the strength and resilience of Arkansas and the American people. We, and the people of our great state, thank you for your attention to this situation, and for your ongoing efforts to support our communities. 

Should you have any questions regarding this request, please contact the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management’s Response and Recovery Division Director, Scott Bass. 

Sincerely,

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