A call for more Indiana small business relief

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb wants to keep the state’s nearly $2.3 billion surplus, despite the ongoing pandemic.

He said that rainy day fund will maintain our AAA credit rating and leave us with room to spend in the event of another emergency.

However, some Hoosiers feel that money should be spent now.

This pandemic has been a punch in the gut for small businesses like Shodan Martial Arts Academy in Greenwood. It’s been open for 12 years but was shut down like many businesses during the pandemic. Director Michelle Guerrero has been applying for assistance non-stop.

“I feel bad for someone who is maybe a new business owner who doesn’t have that kind of experience,” said Guerrero.

She said she is floored by how complicated it is to apply for federal and state small business assistance during this pandemic.

“There should be no reason in an emergency situation that you have Hoosiers that are having to jump through hoops day after day after day to get this money,” said Guerrero.

She’s still waiting to find out if Shodan qualifies for the Indiana Small Business Restart Fund. She hasn’t paid herself or her husband since March. It’s been difficult to support their family.

“So, if you have all of this surplus sitting out there and you know full well that you have people in these situations why are we not facilitating some immediate help for those people?” asked Guerrero.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state needs to keep its $2.3 billion surplus in order to maintain a AAA credit rating.

“It has a lot to do with locals being able to borrow and at the rate they are able to borrow at as well,” said Holcomb. “When you dip into a surplus, you are trying to address things that need immediate attention and that’s exactly what we used our surplus for in the first place.”

He said he wants the $2 billion so the state would be prepared for another kind of emergency. Holcomb points to the federal government or dedicated state programs to help those struggling.

“We do have the resources, many times it’s connecting them with the resources,” said Holcomb.

Guerrero said that connection problem should have been solved already and getting help should be easier.

“There should be a very streamlined process,” said Guerrero.

If it’s not coming from reserves, she suggests finding money for small businesses in the state budget.

“That’s the backbone, that’s why we are thriving here is because we have all of these small businesses,” said Guerrero.

At the very least, Guerrero said the state should organize a small business committee to hear owners’ concerns directly.

“What can we do for you? How can we help you stay alive?” said Guerrero.

She’s volunteering to be on the committee if state leaders are willing to create it.

We reached out to the Governor’s office and representatives for both House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray about this request. All three said the closest thing the state has to something like that would be the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

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