Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday that residents can wait to file their state tax returns and that small businesses will be getting relief from the State Treasury. Pritzker said that downstate small businesses will have money re-directed to curtail some of the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan package will total $90 million.
“First, all of our small businesses outside of Chicago, that’s businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and under $3 million in 2019 revenue in every industry are eligible for our new $60 million from the Illinois small business emergency loan fund, allowing up to $50,000 loans with five-year and low interest. Repayment terms require loan payments won’t begin for six months, offering crucial time for business owners to begin recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19. DCEO, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in partnership with our Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has established a loan loss reserve of $20 million to back up the financing provided by our state charter banks. I want to thank the Illinois Bankers Association and the community bankers Alliance for their partnership in launching this program.
Our second Small Business program also focuses on our suburban and downstate communities, specifically on areas with low to moderate income populations. We’re launching a $20 million downstate small business stabilization program, which will provide emergency grants of up to $25,000. These are grants of $25,000 to small businesses that are being served by Office of Community Development.
And lastly, our hospitality businesses have experienced some of the most significant hardships during this crisis. To help address the significant challenges of our bars and restaurants in small hotel companies, DCEO retooled existing funds to offer support to our state’s hospitality industry through this crisis. Our new hospitality emergency grant program will offer $14 million to help hotels, bars, and restaurants support their payroll and rent, as well as job training and technology for operations like pickup and delivery, which for now have become central to many restaurants staying open.”
DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are partnering with Accion, the Illinois Bankers Association and the Community Bankers Association of Illinois to create this fund. Applications will be available on DCEO’s website on Friday.
Pritzker also announced relief for Illinois taxpayers yesterday: “Illinois will delay our tax filing deadline from April 15th to July 15th aligning our tax day with the federal government’s and giving our millions of taxpayers three additional months to file their individual returns. Refunds will continue to be distributed in a timely manner.”
Treasurer Michael Frerichs said his office has done extra work in securing the state’s finances through re-investment as well as distributing over $3 million in unclaimed property back to the state’s citizens in the last few days to help secure the economic initiatives. “Our state investment portfolio is about $14 billion, about the same amount it was late last year when news of the virus began emerging. The amount is the same because state law prohibits investing any portion of the $14 billion state portfolio in the stock market. The State Treasurer’s Office has launched a bridge loan program to help [small businesses] push through these uncertain times. We have made $250 million available to banks and credit unions across our state, and at the historically low interest rate of almost zero. We agreed to deposit a quarter of a billion dollars from the state’s portfolio and increments of $1 to 5 million with financial institutions across the state. In turn, they have agreed to turn around and use the money to help small businesses and nonprofits pay rent, purchase supplies, and to make payroll. Our goal is simple. We understand businesses slowed. We do not want businesses to close forever. We want them to be able to make payroll and pay their own bills is easier to ramp up a business that is struggling than a business that has shuttered.”
Frerichs also announced that the Treasurer’s Office had loosened restrictions on the unclaimed property process, returning over $3 million to Illinois residents in the last week.
Frerichs also said that his office had reinvested stocks and bonds in the state to help secure the state’s finances and backlog of unpaid bills working in tandem with Comptroller Suzanna Mendoza’s office.