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Gov. Northam proposes $353 million in federal aid for small business recovery

Governor Ralph Northam announced his first American Rescue Plan funding budget proposal is for...
Governor Ralph Northam announced his first American Rescue Plan funding budget proposal is for $353 million to help the recovery of small businesses and tourism.(Mark Lennihan | AP)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 2:21 PM EDT
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam announced his first American Rescue Plan funding budget proposal is for $353 million to help the recovery of small businesses and tourism.

Northam, state senators, and delegates announced the proposed investment at an event at Neptune Park at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Monday afternoon.

The proposed distribution for the project is $250 million for the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund, $50 million for Virginia Tourism Corporation initiatives and $53 million for other small businesses including the Industrial Revitalization Fun and Virginia Main Street program.

Virginia has $4.3 billion in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan that is meant to aid Virginia’s recovery from the pandemic by allocating the funds to the various projects. The Virginia General Assembly and Northam released a joint statement outlining their intentions for the spending in May.

“Virginia is roaring back stronger than we could have imagined one year ago, but small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they need additional support to get back on their feet,” said Governor Northam. “With the American Rescue Plan, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic, revitalize our communities, and invest in our shared prosperity. That’s why I am proposing $353 million to bolster the Commonwealth’s successful recovery initiatives that target our hard-hit tourism and hospitality sectors, main streets, small businesses, and nonprofits.”

Rebuild VA, the economic recovery fund, launched in Aug. 2020 and was created to support over 3,000 small businesses and nonprofits in Virginia. The additional funding proposed by Northam is meant to meet the ongoing demand from small businesses.

Virginia lost an estimated $14.5 billion from March 2020 to April 2021 from tourism spending; the proposed funding for the Virginia Tourism Recovery Program aims to boost marketing for Virginia and bring more tourism to the state.

The Industrial Revitalization Fund and the Virginia Main Street program both aim to boost local economies. Through the previous projects, small towns have benefited from having their Main Street revitalized and this funding hopes to expand these efforts and support small businesses with of focus on minority- and women-owned businesses.

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