In Late July applications went out across the state to local county and city governments in NM for the $150 million in funding granted to the state by the Federal CARES act. The funding was designated by the federal government to assist states in issuing small business continuity grants, the purchase of PPE, housing and rental assistance and other Covid-19 challenges. Additionally $50 Million of the federal funding was earmarked for Naive American and Reservation assistance. But some cities and local governments might be left out in the cold when the funding actually gets dispersed. Under Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan for the aid funding, local governments around the state will be able to apply for a portion of the grants that were secured by NM, with “$100 million of that amount intended for small business grants that would be administered by cities and counties.”
While this sounds like a lifeline for struggling businesses and local governments across the state, there will be conditions for who can receive the money. In scoring the grant applications, the state Department of Finance and Administration is using 10 criteria that include whether cities and counties have complied with the state’s public health orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means some businesses that followed the Governor’s restrictions but were located in areas or towns that may have flouted the emergency health order could lose out on their slice of the CARES act funding. The Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board summed up the situation concisely: “Community leaders who openly defied the governor’s public health orders did so foolishly, possibly contributing to the spread of the virus at the height of the pandemic. Yet further punishment for entire communities that are struggling to recover from the pandemic closures would be vindictive and short-sighted. Read more HERE.