A new Senate plan would redirect a portion of federal COVID-19 aid from the state and counties to small businesses impacted by public health orders during the pandemic

Lawrence, KS – According to the statement, the Steffen-Holland plan would be inserted into Senate Bill 149, one of several pieces of legislation that were crafted to punish counties for imposing shutdowns, social distancing or mask mandates on businesses.

Other ideas have called for a portion of federal aid to be set aside to settle class-action lawsuits from businesses.

The goal of the new plan is to avoid placing blame on officials for restricting business but still “recognize your pain” and provide some tax relief. The plan retains proactive protections for businesses from future restrictions.

Under the proposal, businesses could apply to the Kansas Department of Revenue for up to $7,500 in lease and property tax refunds. The state and county where the businesses is located would split the bill evenly, using federal COVID-19 aid.

The plan limits the scope of who is eligible based on the size and type of business, and how long the business was shut down or adversely affected.

For-profit businesses with a majority of retail sales at a physical location could apply for a refund if they reported between $10,000 and $2.5 million in 2019 revenue and haven’t received more than $350,000 in pandemic-related funding already.

Among other requirements for the program, businesses must be in good standing with the Secretary of State and up to date on property tax bills.