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Stimulus money could be coming to regular Utahns, small businesses, and farms hit financially by COVID-19

(Photo: Utah State Senate Twitter)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah is expected to get $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money next week. Tens of millions of dollars of that could go to regular Utahns, small businesses, and farms who have been hurt financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utah State Senate approved SB 3006 on Friday, which sets up several grant programs:

  • $40 million to cover one month’s rent for certain small businesses and non-profits.
  • $20 million to give targeted financial assistance to farms, ranches, and animal feed operations.
  • $20 million to the state’s Housing and Community Development Division to help residents hit financially by COVID-19 get housing or stay in their homes.

Because these are grants, they would not have to be paid back.

Senator Scott Sandall (R-Tremonton), who is a farmer and rancher, is grateful his industry will be getting the help it needs from the stimulus money.

“I know our livestock and poultry industries have, and may see up to, a 40% decline. I think [the grants are] going to be really meaningful,” Sandall says.

Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City) agrees because farmers have been left out of other federal stimulus programs.

“Many of the agriculture operations do not qualify for the [Paycheck Protection Program] because they have a different classification…I think this is very wise use of the money,” Vickers says.

Senator Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City) hopes it will push the federal government to do more to help people.

“I think moving forward with this bill is probably one of the best things we can do for our economy. I know a lot of people are hurting and, hopefully, our Congressional delegation hears the cry that they need to get that extra funding for the businesses,” Escamilla says.

The Utah House will be voting on the bill next week.


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